Tira Khan

Growing Up Girl
Location: Boston
Nationality: us
Biography: Tira Khan’s photographs explore the meaning of family, the formal and informal moment, and the architecture of place. She enjoys shooting straight from the camera, as well as pushing the bounds of a photograph.  She believes... MORE
Public Story
Growing Up Girl
Copyright Tira Khan 2023
Date of Work Nov 2011 - Ongoing
Updated Nov 2018
Location Boston, MA USA
Topics Adolescence, Beauty, Children, Community, Documentary, Editorial, Emotion, Family, Feminism, Friends + Family, girl, Happiness, Love, Motherhood, Parenting & Family, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture, Relationships, Teens, Youth
A selection of photographs from my series about my three daughters called Growing Up Girl.
Most of these photographs were taken before social media became such a dominant force in the world, so I feel not only is there an innocence about this time in their lives, but also a cultural innocence. Most of the early photographs were taken in 2013, the last one is from 2018. This was the pre-pandemic era, before our politics became so polarized, and the cell phone an extension of our body.

Artist statement:
I first 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. However, I soon learned that, for our family, it was an impossible trifecta.  So 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. 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.

As the girls aged, I wondered if these small moments added up to something larger — perhaps the development of character, personality?  Did these quiet times alone or with family lay the groundwork for the complicated world that lay ahead?  

As Susan Sontag said: “Photographs are really experiences captured.” I feel like these photos captured early family life and who the girls have become. The childhood “magic” morphed into teen melodrama, and now the tentativeness that comes with young adulthood. These days they have different kind of energy, and I do, too. I realize now that we grew up together.

LinkedIn Icon Facebook Icon Twitter Icon