Parents and schools should make viewing this show mandatory for every teenager in the county. These photographs are far more passionate and powerful than any words of wisdom we impart. .

Naples Daily News: Naples, Florida


Children of Children, Portraits and Stories of Teenage Parents is a multimedia traveling exhibition by photographer Michael Nye. The exhibit is a collection of stories of men and women ranging in age from 12 to 100 whose lives have been crucially affected by teenage pregnancy.

This powerful exhibition features 50 BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS, each accompanied by AUDIO STORIES told by the individuals in the portraits. Each narrative offers clarifying insights.

This multimedia exhibit is a catalyst for family, student and community discussions as it explores teen pregnancy and parenting in its full context – without criticism or approval – in a non-threatening setting. These voices will enlarge awareness and understanding.

This exhibition can be installed anywhere – on the walls of major museums/galleries OR presented with an alternative easel construction, in community centers, universities and high schools. Viewers of this exhibit listen to the narratives through headphones mounted by each portrait.


Statement:

This exhibition presents 50 portraits and stories of those whose lives have been crucially affected by teenage pregnancy. Half of the subjects are current teenage parents and half are individuals who were once teenage parents. One story is from the father of a teenage mother and one from the child of teenage parents.

The project’s intention is not to condemn, condone or romanticize teenage pregnancy in any way, but to explore the context of young pregnancy and parenting in our society.

These photographs and stories are glimpses into much larger, complex lives. Each person carries a separate, very particular history. Whether the early pregnancy occurred in 1918 or today, it is a dramatic, life-changing event. Often it is the dividing line between childhood and becoming an adult. Teenage pregnancy can pull families apart, but it can also bring some families closer together.

All of the participants in this project faced difficult choices at a young age. If not already married, will I marry the father or mother? Should I keep this child or have an abortion? Should I give my child up for adoption? How am I going to support this child? How will the pregnancy affect my family and friends? How is this pregnancy going to change my educational and career goals? Am I going to be a good parent? Most of the individuals I interviewed said that they wished they would have waited, but loved their children.

The mothers and fathers I have interviewed and photographed have irrevocably changed the way I think about teen pregnancy and parenting today. I have found some families in difficult situations loving and caring for their children and working hard to improve their lives, while others seemed overwhelmed and unsure how to deal with the complexities of their situations.

Hopefully a visitor to this exhibit will be able to listen to at least 8-12 stories to understand the range of experiences. This is a controversial topic which some people may approach with longstanding biases, prejudices, or easy generalizations. I urge you to look and listen with a generous mind. I have been deeply moved by all the individuals and families I’ve met.

I thank each one of them for their courage to open their lives to us.

Michael Nye