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Documentary: Girls living in US slum district (19)

People's Daily Online)  11:24, September 07, 2012

Jazlyn hides under the table waiting for her uncle to make her sandwich. (Xinhua/ Andrea Morales)

Extracted dreams is a private collection of photographer Andrea Morales, who recorded the lives of girls in a poverty-stricken town in the United States with her camera, showing their troubles and confusions in their growth and presenting their lives between teenage fantasy and the reality of poverty.

The following is the comment of Andrea Morales on this photographic collection.

Somewhere between teenage fantasy and the reality of poverty are the girls of an old company town in southeast Ohio. Their coming of age in Glouster, Ohio, a coal boom town of the distant past with few resources in the present, is dictated by the push and pull of wanting to be and not able to be.

Many of them have grown up with harsh influences directly affecting their personal lives while still crafting their own aspirations. The community is in the state's poorest school district and is regionally notorious for the crime and dysfunction that has risen in the last decade with the influx of prescription drug abuse and heroin. The lightness of their youth allows them to quietly defy the cards they are dealt. “I want to make something of myself,” is the often-referenced goal they operate on while turning a blind eye to the kinetic cycle that's easy to get caught in while rushing towards adulthood.

The nuanced conflicts of growing up in deep poverty are often leaving these girls relegated to their self-destruction. Tangled up with the gender roles and circumstances afforded to them by previous generations, the peeks into their imagination play out in daily life against a bleak backdrop and give us insight into the struggle between perceptions and context.

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