Laurel Nakadate Girls School
Lisa and I grew up together in Iowa. The fall we started college, I moved to Boston to attend art school, and Lisa moved nearby to attend Wellesley, a prestigious women's college. As I rode on the bus from Harvard Square for my first visit to see Lisa, I had images in my head of good girls studying, talking politely of politics over dinner, and falling asleep in their footed pajamas. What I did see were women dancing almost naked, flirting with each other and with the boys bused in from nearby schools. I went home after that first night confused about what I had and had not seen, but I had taken some pictures and started a four-year study of parties at girls' schools.
My life revolved around the energy of these parties. Documenting Lisa and her friends became a way for me to create stability in my own life and to think about what it means to cross the bridge from high school prom to college graduation. I was also studying ways women live in their bodies. I did not know how important these pictures would become to me, or even why I was making them. Still I felt that the future would change everything, and it was important to make these pictures.
I believe in working constantly and letting the work lead or mislead me. Photography is about looking at a world and having the ability to describe and record that world. I most admire those photographers who make pictures because they did not have any other options.