Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Lawrence Mason
Prof. Claudia Strong
Broadcast and Digital Journalism
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Latin American Languages and Societies | Photography
Strange Angels is a documentary photography project exploring the formation of family in the context of Stansberry Children’s Home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It is a creative project presented as a book of photos and text that together discuss life in the children’s home and how children with fractured families construct family systems in an institutional context. The photography was produced during two trips that I took to Santa Cruz in 2009 and 2010. On both trips I lived on the Stansberry grounds and interacted with the children and their caretakers, becoming acquainted with them and the operations of the children’s home
The book draws on the D.H. Lawrence poem “The Song of a Man Who Has Come Through” to anchor the discussion of what family, hospitality and experience can mean. My final project, presented as a book, brings together an analytical approach to the documentary project with an exploration of my own experience in Bolivia. The book contains two versions of the design: one in English and one in Spanish, resulting in increased accessibility to the project. The Spanish version makes it available to the subjects themselves, and the English version makes it available to the U.S. audience, including the University community.
The photos have been edited into loose chronological order to provide a view of a typical day in the life of Stansberry Children’s Home. Accompanying captions provide context for the activities of the Home and its general operations including information not shown in the photos. The introduction and personal essay that bookend the main content of the book give broader context for my own experience there, as this is relevant to my authority to speak about the subjects and important to how the book was produced.
The design of the book was developed to showcase the photography, and to give snippets of daily life that an uninformed viewer can understand. As a whole, the project concludes that the way that ‘family’ is formed at Stansberry is primarily logistical, but transcends the practical through unconditional love and the connections that are formed on a deep level between the kids and their caregivers. Through the use of biblical references, interviews, and observations, the book build this picture of an unfamiliar concept of what a family can be.
Werner, Bridgette, "Strange Angels" (2011). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 229.
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