shot on nikon d750 and 4x5 film

   Residing within this home in Savannah, Georgia is more than a mother and a father and their kids. Within this home is a story of how a family functions in day-to-day life while housing a child with severe cerebral palsy and non-verbal autism. The Pendergrass family consists of Christine, Scott, Alexa, and twins, Ruby and Ava. Although at first glance, their family may appear as ordinary as everyone else’s, the closer you look, the more you see the incredibly unique abnormalities of this family. The daily tasks of this family mostly revolve around the protection and care of Ruby since she cannot care for herself. When I first began photographing the Pendergrass’ I was doing so from a perspective of showing the “normal-ness” of their lives and attempting to elevate them to an ethereal realm; but I soon realized that that was a false representation of them. Their family is absolutely not perfect or ethereal - but unique and chaotic. Everyday things like eating, bathing, and grocery shopping are completely altered due to the severity of Ruby’s condition. Nothing is done in a typical way in this household and my intent was to highlight the abnormalities of the family and the home in which they reside. An important part of representing this family in an honest way was to show how Ruby functions through her condition and how her twin sister, Ava, lives in harmony with her despite living in a completely different world. Although their lives are far from ordinary, the Pendergrass family has married a perfectly imperfect world with love, joy, and happiness in spite of their everyday challenges. 


     Through documenting their lives and experiencing just some of their daily hurdles, I have created a bond with this family and they have all become a part of my everyday life. Mondays and Wednesdays have become a vital part of my week as I get to see the people that have altered my perspective on the meaning of  “home”.  I have never had a stable view of a home and Chrissy, Scott, Alexa, and Ruby & Ava are helping me to realize that home doesn't have to be traditional or typical. Home is whatever you want it to be. And for me, at this point in my life, Home isn’t where I grew up. It isn’t where my parents now live. Home is in Savannah, Ga. surrounded by the kids that I have been lucky enough to document. My Home is Away From Home.

(ongoing project)

Video by Willow Howell