By Liz Hingley for Save the Children
In 2010, Save the Children’s (SC) UK Child Poverty campaign was based on Government statistics that 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK. Having grown up in a poor area in the West Midlands, I wanted to provide a personal and human interpretation of such overwhelming statistics.
I became a photographer for Our Lives assignment, which was the first time SC was able to use real peoples’ stories to communicate the meaning and experience of genuine deprivation in a wealthy country. I formed a trusting relationship with a West Midlands family, the Jones, in order to develop a more subtle visual language, which provides new ways of representing the stories of both struggle and resilience. As a young person myself, it was a transformative relationship of mutual learning and sharing. This series of photographs was taken during two years of close collaboration with the Jones Family. The two parents and seven children are living in their first house on a council estate in West Midlands, UK, after residing in caravans for three generations. The images expose the fundamental realities of the intergenerational cycle of poverty in the Western world.
Through this collaboration, SC forged partnerships with the local authorities and communities in the West Midlands, which will have a lasting impact on children in the area. The finished result was a body of work that captures the perspectives of children living in poverty that their parents are happy to share with a public audience as well as to put in their first family album.