Children of the World / Boston
I’ve always been interested in my own family’s immigrant origins. Where did we come from, and how does that make us who we are? How do parents, who emigrated to the U.S. from other places, help their children understand who they are, in their new world?
I met many immigrant families in my job as a social worker, and was fascinated to learn more about their lives. I began photographing the children, and listened to how they understood their family’s immigrant story. Photographing them in their homes here in Boston, I love to see how they ‘become Americans’, and at the same time hold on to some of their identity from the home country. A mother from Pakistan dresses her daughter in a sari, and the little girl only wants Barbie dolls. A boy from Cape Verde plays African drums, and also loves baseball.
Children of the World | Boston is a story, in photographs and words, about children of immigrant families who live in Boston. My goal is to photograph children from different countries, all living in the Boston area. I interview each family to learn about their experiences living in the U.S., and here in Boston. I ask the parents and children to talk about their identities. A 12 year-old boy said, “I was born in America, but my parents are from the Caribbean. I’m American by citizenship, but ‘American’ is just a label… my blood is from Dominica.”
I want to introduce these different worlds and cultures to a wider audience. My hope is that the viewer will learn something about the ‘children of the world’ here among us.
Randi Freundlich is a Boston-based photographer and social worker. She received a BFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has studied at New England School of Photography, Massachusetts College of Art, Maine Media Workshops, and the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Freundlich’s photography style is documentary portraiture; it’s informed by her social work with parents and families. Describing her process, she says, “social work and making portraits have a common theme – in their essence they are both about the relationship between people. Being successful in both endeavors requires establishing a feeling of trust. With photography, I hope to reduce the distance between the subject and the viewer, between people or worlds that are often very different from each other.”
Her current project brings her personal and professional lives together. Children of the World/Boston includes images and stories about children of immigrant families living in Boston. Growing up Jewish in Texas, Freundlich was a minority in terms of culture and religion. She was interested in the stories of her grandparents and great-grandparents, who emigrated from Europe.
Freundlich’s series has been exhibited at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from 2013 to 2014, and at Boston City Hall from December 2014 to January 2015. A slideshow of Children of the World/ Boston images is currently included in the Dreams of Freedom exhibit at the Prudential Center’s Skywalk Observatory in Boston.
Contact Randi Freundlich