Photographs by Louisa Marie Summer. Text by Mairead Byrne.
Schilt Publishing, 2012. 128 pp., 90 color illustrations, 9½x7".
The work of German photographer Louisa Marie Summer is driven by her interest in discovering the inner workings of other people’s lives. She is eager to look at what is beyond the surface and questions with her camera what she sees. Louisa’s photographs share her experience with Jennifer, a young second-generation Puerto Rican woman, whom one day Louisa approached in South Providence. Jennifer lives with her native American partner and their four children in a run-down three-bedroom apartment at or near the lower end of the socio-economic ladder. South Providence is an urban neighborhood with a large African-American and Hispanic population, high unemployment and crime rates, and where many families live well below the poverty line. Over time Louisa and the family developed a close relationship based on mutual understanding, respect and trust.
Accordingly, Louisa’s photographs, captured over a year, provide an intimate view into the daily life of Jennifer's family. The illustrate how a 26-year-old mother, in spite of difficult living conditions, poverty, and illness, manages to maintain optimistic while thoroughly caring for her children. Louisa’s photographs shows a quality of great empathy, but by no means does Louisa expose weakness or defect; she allows each of her subjects dignity and personal impact.