How Far Is Heaven: An American Family
Gelatin Silver Prints
14 x 11"
Series of 20-45
This is a socio-documenary of The Cleveland/Reynolds family, an impoverished large rural tenant farm family of two parents and twelve children. The photographs were made in various locations in Sullivan County of New York State, northwest of New York City.
I met this family as an anti poverty field worker. Five years later I returned to photograph family's dire circumstances of poverty, constant moving, sickness and hardship.
In 1982, when the economic and cultural climate changed under Ronald Reagan's presidency, I learned that Elaine, this mother of twelve, was determined to get off welfare and break the stigma of welfare by going to nursing school with the help of her church.
I proposed the story to Life Magazine and was assigned to do a photo essay. "Getting Off Welfare," ran June 1982.