I live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Here, the women pushing the strollers are almost always black and the children white. I wondered why; my wondering became this multi-year project, Substitutes.
The women in these photographs are substitute parents. Being a nanny is a low-paying job where love between the nanny and child is one of the anticipated but universally unspoken duties. When I was young, a wonderful woman named Martha took care of me; she was black and I am white. I haven’t seen Martha for over 30 years, but I remember her face vividly.
Substitutes is about the indelible impressions these women leave, and the persistent questions they raise.