A Note From Home

Jonna McKone

2017 - Ongoing

A Note From Home is a long-term participatory project and publication using photography, portraiture, oral history, writing and archives to explore the complexity of family and personal narratives in collaboration with youth who have experience in foster care or with homelessness. The work considers the body as a container: what passes through us, the geographies we pass through and the way history is etched on gestures, faces and landscapes. The images convey the stories of young adults in college, who have successfully navigated foster care, and systems inherently associated with traumas and instabilities. For me, the act of storytelling can itself change reality. A story asserts the teller’s importance. An image contains a story. And that story can establish a world, reconstruct one, affirm a personal history, or recompose fragments.

The work has taken us from the living rooms of grandmothers, to graveyards, to foster care homes, to rest stops to parks on the edges of New Jersey cities. In the process of making images and portraits, collecting oral histories and tracking down family archives, the stories and photographs communicate both an extraordinary resilience and the fragility of being between youth and adulthood. The portraits are made by me and the digital photos are made in collaboration with the youth involved in the project.

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