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Special Feature: "Let Them Be" A Collection from Jennifer Blakeley



1. Tell us, what is "Let Them Be"?       


Let Them Be, is a collection of images that I photographed back in September that show kids - being kids. Making silly faces, crossing their eyes, flipping their hair, screaming, laughing and just bursting with emotion and joy.



2. What inspired you to create this series?    


I created this series as a direct response to what I am seeing more often shared from blogs through Facebook and social media - parenting articles that are pushing children to "perform",  be better, run faster, be smarter, read quicker, score more goals, and just basically do more. I see these articles being shared, and as a mother of two small children - what I feel needs to really happen, is let kids be kids. This series is a response to what I feel is society pressuring children to grow up too quickly.




3. You say in your statement that you were inspired by Jill Greenberg, can you tell us 




more about that?


Jill Greenberg created a controversial series in 2006 called "End Times" which showed children crying.  To me, it was very emotionally impactful and has been on my mind for quite some time. When I had the idea to create "Let Them Be", I knew exactly the style of image I wanted to create - and it was inspired by Jill's "End Times" series.  



4. How did you create the lighting in these images?  What kind of equipment did you use?    


To create these images I used a 5 light set up.  I had, 2 small soft boxes on either side of the subject, a hair light shining directly down on the kids attached to a boom with a snoot over the strobe to create a direct light.  I had a front fill light bouncing off an umbrella to my right, and a ring flash over my lens.  Here is a picture that one of the parents took while they were waiting - you can see my light set up here.



5. What has the reaction been to this series so far?    


The reaction to the series has been overwhelming. I released the series January 5th, along with a video that was produced by my friends  The series has been shared hundreds of times, the video has been watched and shared thousands of times, one of the images from the series was featured in Times Square in New York City, and this Friday I will be interviewed on Canada AM - Canada's national breakfast show!  I am humbled and grateful for the response. 



6. This series is so different from your usual photographic style, do you feel it is 




confusing for people to see a different style from you?



Yes, this series is much different from my usual style of child portrait, however no - I don't feel that it is confusing for people to see something different come from me. This series was created with intent, as all of my images are.  It excites me try new things, to explore other areas of photography, and to create an artistic series of images that are meaningful to me - that represent something.


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To view the entire series visit


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