I was driving near Maxton, North Carolina, in 1960 and passed a house with a mother and her children sitting on the porch. It strongly reminded me of one of Dorothea Lang’s pictures. So I stopped and took the group’s picture, but then I noticed the girl in the doorway. I simply slipped to the side and took her portrait with a zoom lens. There was just something about the picture with all its shadows and patterns with the girl as the focal point that I had to record. I immediately liked the photograph and had no idea that decades later it would be in demand.
Reynolds Price had purchased a print of this photograph during an exhibition at the Intimate Bookshop on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Publisher Scribner/Simon and Schuster wrote me in a letter that Price had placed the picture above his typewriter and looked at it frequently while he was writing about Lumbee Indians and their culture in A Long and Happy Life, published in 1962.
His publisher asked, at Price’s request, for permission to use it on the cover of the anniversary edition of his best-selling book, published in 2009.
I have always enjoyed studying this photograph. The young lady has a Mona Lisa smile and a far-away look in her eyes as she watched her mother and siblings sitting on the porch in front of her. Although living a humble lifestyle, she is obviously content within the security of her family.
Girl in Doorway
Clicking this button takes you to the PHOTOS STOREFRONT where you will need to navigate to this photograph to purchase it.