Tira Khan

Photography + video
   
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Location: Boston
Nationality: us
Biography: Tira Khan’s photographs focus on people, the domestic, and unguarded moments. Her images are often personal, and she finds that elements of our daily lives often reflect broad, universal themes. In the past year her series, Growing Up... read on
Public Story
Growing Up Girl
I began photographing my three daughters because I wanted a portrait to hang on my living room wall. I envisioned them freshly bathed, dressed and happy, all at the same time. For me, that was an impossible trifecta. Instead, I began to photograph moments more authentic -- when my girls were wrapped in their own thoughts, oblivious to me.
I saw my photographs as a way of studying the girls in their natural habitat, as a journalist might. Not wanting to bother them, I never asked my daughters to stop what they were doing, and they didn’t seem to mind me snapping away. More likely, I was too timid to ask them to pose. Though had I asked, I’m sure they would have refused.
Over the years, people would encourage me to photograph something more important, something that mattered to the external world. But I found myself drawn to these moments when my daughters were introspective — perhaps I thought taking their photo would lead me
closer to their inner world. Children and adolescents have a seriousness about them that we, as a culture, sometimes forget. I paid attention when not much was “going on.”
As the girls aged, I realized that these small moments added up to something much larger — the development of character, personality. Now, as I feel more confident, they are more confident too. We see each other head-on, unapologetic in our flaws. But we are also, at times, more wary. I hope these small moments — witnessed in these photos — show personal growth, enabling them to interact with the world beyond home and family.
As Susan Sontag says: “Photographs are really experiences captured.” I feel like these photos captured early family life and who they have become. The childhood “magic” has morphed into teen melodrama and more. It’s now a different kind of energy. We grew up together.
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