The City of Children.
Photographs by Monika Merva.
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2011. 112 pp., 52 color illustrations, 11¾x9½".
Signed copies available!
'Having visited the City of Children many times over the years, I have become increasingly impressed by its quiet, and often hidden, power and beauty. The community has its distinguishing characteristics, but if you dig deeper, you will find that there exists an extraordinarily direct – one might even say mysterious – connection between these surface traits and the universal truths that lie just beneath, truths about the human nature and condition we all share.
At first glance you might simply see the people photographed as very different from yourself, but after a longer look, you will probably see the commonality of our life experiences. There is a bond between all people through which we can relate to one another, and it just needs to be recognized. The connection may be the memory of teenage angst, a feeling of isolation, or the joy of laughing with a great friend.
Since 2002 I have photographed the children in and around their home, using a medium format camera, unposed and in natural light. As a photographer I have always been interested in people. As a first-generation American of Hungarian descent, my interest in Gyermekközpont is personal. I spent my childhood summers in Hungary, speak the language, and have extended family there.
I believe the home is where our strength lies. It’s the source of everything – where all our fears, questions, love, and a sense of belonging originate.'
'Children generally know whom to trust, especially those who´ve experienced hardships. Monika Merva brought empathy and compassion as well as skill to this project and we can feel it in the children's responses. They allowed her into their private spaces and she's honored their trust with vivid, memorable portraits.'
Anne Wilkes Tucker