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Lisa Wiltse

Teen Pregnancy

play this essay


“The one who got me pregnant was my cousin. He is not my boyfriend. In one bed, there are three of us…I am the only girl beside two boys…The one who got me pregnant is my cousin who is 13 years old. When I sleep, I really do not feel anything….When I woke up I felt…I wondered why my opening was painful.” Those are words from Jessica, 16 years old,  Quezon City, Philippines

Teenage pregnancy is widespread in the Philippines, especially amongst the poor. In Manila, this contributes to overpopulation and the vicious cycle of poverty, another child borne into the ghettos and a teenage Mom bearing the burden of raising a child before her own maturity and adulthood.  An estimated 70,000 adolescent mothers die each year in developing countries.

Young mothers face enormous health risks, obstructed labor is common and results in newborn deaths and deaths or disabilities in the mother.

Children are everywhere, tangible evidence of the city’s teenage pregnancy problem. Every year, 13 out of 100 girls aged between 15 and 19 of the Filipino population get pregnant. Health care for Manila’s urban poor is almost nonexistent, while opportunities to learn about contraception in this strictly Catholic country are rare.

A growing and heated debate in this predominantly Catholic country revolves around the church’s uncompromising stance against the use of contraceptive devices that is said to be contributing to poverty and affecting the quality of life for many Filipinos.

The Catholic church in the Philippines only approves of natural family planning methods and view condom use as promoting adultery and premarital sex. Church leaders believe that sex is meant solely for procreation. In this context, using of condoms-even for HIV/AIDS prevention becomes a sinful act. The problem is becoming very real.  An AIDS crisis threatens the Philippines as the number of people who are HIV positive has doubled in just over three years.

The Philippines, now home to around 85 million people, has become one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia with about 2 million new births each year, many of them in public hospitals so overwhelmed that new mothers are forced to share beds. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ population is projected to expand to as many as 142 million by 2040, by the government’s own estimates, and the rapid arrival of new mouths to feed is straining the country’s creaking infrastructure and choking its efforts to cut poverty.

These are the statistics. On paper, they sound alarming. The reality s even more astounding. One can walk into poor community and find an overabundance of child mothers. Most girls are unaware of protecting themselves and once pregnant, most will give up their studies.


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Lisa Wiltse


100 thoughts on “lisa wiltse – teen pregnancy”

  1. an interesting subject and some beautiful photographs, but as an essay this felt really one dimensional – there were very few changes of pace, and i felt like there were only two scenes that were really explored – some bedrooms/living spaces, and some breastfeeding in a hospital.

    i just felt like there was room in that essay for some still life, perhaps some landscape, or even just more people shots but different scenarios;

    if felt almost like the photographer was trying so hard to impress with interesting compositions that the story was secondary to the aesthetics.

    – also – a quick caption query – is it the same girl (ronabelle) in images 15 and 17?

  2. Hi Ben,
    yes, 15 and 17 is ronabelle. Thanks for comments, this is part of a much larger body of work in progress so I appreciate your thoughts as the project evolves

  3. cheers lisa

    okay – the caption query – the ages and stages of pregnancy for ronabelle are different in the two images.

    btw – i really like some of the stories on your website, particularly “Urban Indigenous Australia” and “Wallerawang” – i felt like both of these series, while still showing inventive compositions, kept a close connection with the subject and had enough variety in scenario and pace to hold my attention.

  4. Hey again,
    In both those images they say she is fifteen, you sure its 15 and 17? It is definitely something to think about in the editing process.. it is incredible. A limitless journey and a constant learning process. I love it sososo much.

  5. @lisa

    when i view it –

    image 15 says that she is “15 and approximately 5 months pregnant”

    image 17 says that she is “8 months pregnant and 17 yrs old”


  6. The photography is very good. But also somewhat repiticious. I wanted to see more of the effects of the pregnancy, not just the pregnancy. Maybe the personal relationships, good or bad, among the “families.” Perhaps the consequences of HIV on the children and young women? How many of these children are abandoned and on the streets as they grow up? Could you include photos of them.

    This would also be enhanced for me with a spoken commentary rather than the slide up captions, which were distracting. This is an excellent beginning. Hope we’ll get to see the whole project.

  7. ahh ok, i see it……caption error. She is 17 years old and 8 months pregnant. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

    Jim, I am attempting to do this story on a chapter by chapter basis which I should have mentioned. My hopes is for this to become a global project and I look to explore all different areas surrounding teenage pregancy…the consequences and the relationships with their families. Thank you for your constructive criticism

  8. Hi Lisa. I really love your serie about Enrique’s Playground. Sorry for the side comment but i just visit your web site thru this page and want to post some note. Saludos

  9. Amazing series- I intentionally watched without reading the text, captions or comments… Great handling of light and the compositions are intricate yet compelling. I think one of the shots of the nursing mothers could be removed, but other than that…


  10. Caption wise:

    I saw a caption that said something to the effect that “many of this woman are pregnant by family members and abuse.” It makes one think the subject is pregnant due to this, if you don’t have a subject in this circumstance, maybe leave it out of the caption info, gives the wrong impression, unless I’m totally wrong.

    Great low-light, quality pictures, but I agree that a tighter edit of what you’ve got and some more about the consequences would make this a spectacular piece.

  11. LISA,

    What a pleasure to discover a new photographer. I went to your website and there are so many pictures that I have liked. Actually, I thought a couple of your essays on your site were much stronger than the Teenage pregnancy essay that you have shared here (although I also liked it). I particularly enjoyed the essay “Enrique’s playground” as well as your essay “Urban indigenous”…some great compositions, great use of light, colors and shadows but also some very nice closer portraits showing your sensibility, very nice touch overall. You are now officially bookmarked :):):):) and I hope to see more of your work in the future.

    Regarding Teenage pregnancy, 1, 2, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 22 are my favourite images…

    Overall, very happy to have discovered your work this evening!!!


  12. Lisa! :)))

    such a pleasure to see your work here at Burn (world is coming full circle, indeed!)….When Tamara V was here last summer visiting me and Marina, we spoke of your work as well! :))

    As always, the pictures are powerful, using light and reflection to ‘widen’ our sense of space as well as to deepen our sense of place within the subjects lives. It’s a talent you have always had and one I love very much in your entire body of work. Such a pleasure to see here now as well!

    A terrific essay, and as Ben mentioned, I see it as only a beginning, an initial exploration of a profound and heart-breaking story. As Ben wrote, it will be great to see the project widen and follow not only these teen mothers but also the consequence of the children’s lives…as an ancillary project about teen moms, the pictures of the children that have already been born as well the responsibility and lives of the teen’s family…a fanning out of heartbreak….

    Nothing of insight i can add to an already powerful and pitched story, one in which you have put yourself as a compassionate and insightful observer. More pics of the kids already born and of the teen’s family, especially outsight the maternity wards and the homes will be great to see as well. but a beautifully executed and humanely ruminative story on the difficulty of their lives…

    Can’t wait to see it grow. As always Lisa, wonderful, observant, compassionate, important work.


  13. Comes down to editing…..sometimes you just want to beat your head against the wall. Don’t get me wrong I love the process but so often I look at my work and think damn, why didn’t i put that one in??? I have been thinking about the editing process lately and how vital it is, even if the work is good it is about the story and the message. I am really passionate about this story as a long term project so i really look forward to improving it so people who view it can get an even better understanding.

    I will check on that caption. At the KBF shelter, it is true, many of the woman have fallen pregnant by family members or sexual abuse. I really sad reality.

    I am really thankful for Burn as a forum to discuss our stories

  14. I live with this story..
    or the fear of the consequences of this story..
    every day..
    right here,
    in the golden state..
    My 15 year old daughter keeps me going…
    especially when she appears so much older than her age…
    this essay left me wanting more…
    more energy…
    such a powerful subject,
    great images,
    but couldn’t ‘feel’ the story…
    the story is more than the pregnant girls
    and hospitals…
    I prefaced this comment with where I am coming from..
    because I can’t see this without being jaded as a mom of a 15 year old girl,
    and that fear is real for me… so fucking real…
    I liked your images,
    maybe explore more of what story you want to tell with these girls….

  15. Thanks for your thought Wendy, I will certainly take all your thoughts on board… This story is unfinished but I submitted it to Burn with the hopes of getting feedback, which is exactly what I am getting. All very insightful and useful. this is what this is all about so thank you.

    Like most personal projects, it is extremely difficult to find funding to continue the project. I would jump on a plane tomorrow to spend more time with these young girls if i could, to continue to document their journeys, they deserve that. I project this to be at least a five year project, exploring this issue in several different countries.

  16. ok… mrs Lisa,
    help me out here…
    i could say i love the photo number x or i hate photo number xii … and go on… and who cares…but i really wanna ask….

    Question: What made you choose this subject?
    i’m sure you already know that there would be no help to those young moms by a photo or an essay , right?
    i’m sure you know that an essay like this would never make it to those suffering countries….
    its meant to be seen by westerners… right ?…
    As a female what really is your message ( tip: honestly, you need to have one..)if any ?
    I’m sitting here all alone thinking:… why do i need to see all that?
    Is Catholicism you are “after”????
    Is violent, uneducated men you are “after”???
    Is the medieval country of the Philippines you are after?
    Are you trying to educate my numb western eye that you are after?

    You shoot like a PJ…no doubt about it… Straight… straight…straight… canon5D “perfection”…
    Jim Powers’s heaven… laughing… but WHO are you trying to “please”??????
    iS IT the fat westerner eating his pancakes on a sunday morning iHOP that you have in mind ???

    I dont know where you from but if you a westerner ( american or german or even greek…) then why dont you try to MIRROR your neighborhood ????????
    In America today , that specific problem is sooooooooooooooo intense.. ( actually, i cant remember who did it but NatGeo did a great story about that few years ago…)
    So why dont you talk about it? about your own little hometown or village you were born??????????
    How many times do poor countries like the Philippines or Thailand or…whatever, have to be slapped in the face from people like YOU & ME… ????
    Why not exposing the city or country you were born????
    ( i do not know you & i sooo hope to hear from you that you are in fact born at that place you are “exposing”)… then i will keep my trap shut…

    Again, im struggling to see who are you trying to “enlighten” here…
    Me??????? sorry , but thats too late…

    HIV stories, pregnancy and drugs and poverty is the easy… easy… easiest way to do it…
    its almost lazy…
    I know that i sound ( once more ) like SIMON C from the American Idol…
    but i’m not playing tonight…

    i feel ( and i know im wrong) … yes i do feel that i should PROTECT those 10,12, 15 year olds from
    our dangerous western perceptions…
    I dont need to see those little girls “exposed” or feeling so uncomfortable in front of your( or anyones ) lens… because i know this story already… i know about the corruption and creepiness of the THIRD WORLD
    ( PHILIPPINES, THAILAND, MEXICO , CHINA and on and on…. )
    …. AND DO IT soon… soonest….
    ( again,…. mrs photographer i hope you were born in that village and i hope those little girls are your cousins or your family… until then …. though !!!!!!!!!! i dont wanna hear about it… because i know about it…. Many PJ’s cant understand that their camera was there attached to their ambitions … and expect me to “pay” for that…
    i feel so depressed today…. so sad!

  17. Lisa….
    wherever you are located..
    there are pregnant teens…
    explore close to home~
    same subject,
    different environment…
    you do have a compelling story…
    it shows in your talent,
    and in your belief to ‘continue to document their journeys, they deserve that…’
    look forward to seeing more…

  18. I do have plans to explore this story in my own home country, and I said before this is part of a global project. I appreciate your opinion and I am sorry you feel that way, I happen to disagree you though. If photographers went out with the attitude that nothing will change, than we might as well give up.

  19. This gives a good feeling about our own health care in the US. I liked the photography, Some occasions, it seemed that the same shot from a different angle was used as filler… perhaps it’s my browser – I’m using Google Chrome – but the captions, were garbled, and a little fluky… It’s sad even in the US to see children having children… Usually these children can hardly care for them selves, and here they are making more children, and putting them selves in a harder position to get ahead…

    Whats the cause? Too much gov’t control and not enough being given back? Not a big enough park system? not enough things for these kids to do, they have to go make their own fun? This project could go really deep… My sister is a teenage mother, and luckily for her she has a supportive mother and friends who help her out when they can. The Gov’t pays for day care and assistance… Could you imagine how taxing this would be on gov’t resources if the US had a problem that large? there are many non-profit organizations that help teens in the US before and during pregnancy… i could go on and on…

    back to the photography – I can see the light was low in many locations, great job getting stable shots, dragging the shutter, and creating a creative look. :)

  20. Teen pregnancy may be an unresolvable issue where ever it occurs. Teenagers are programed by nature to procreate. Rape and sexual abuse are another thing entirely.

    This doesn’t appear to be a story about teenagers making out in the back seat of a car and just not using protection. It appears, and I don’t want to put words in the author’s mouth, to be a story about the Catholic church denying young girls the means to prevent being made pregnant. But, of course, it isn’t. Because even if the Catholic church gave its blessing to birth control, the girls depicted in these photos would likely still not have access to it. The real issue is powerlessness.

    Would it be the same story if shot in the U.S.? Not at all.

  21. Wendy…
    of course we are on the same page…
    “Insight” , thats the word … and you know what it means…
    In this essay???? no insight….thats whats missing…Insight…
    Again, i might be misunderstood here…
    i totally see that this essay is not about ART… its PJ…
    im not judging this essay from an “artistic” point of view…
    neither the photog “pretends” that this is “art”… so i can see the honesty regarding that point..
    Straight, super straight newspaper type of photos…
    i have no problem with that………….AT ALL…

    but, the “insight”????????????
    nowhere, none, zero…

  22. Ok, teenage pregnancy is a problem, undoubtedly. Something that needs to be understood, and dealt with….. people need to be helped. The thing is, how can you incite people to change, to care, to become concerned about something that you yourself, as the presenter of the story perceivably has no insight into, shows no feeling about, is incapable of even attaching her personal viewpoint to, remains sooooo distant from? I don’t proclaim to know much about photography, but I do know that it is viewed as, and respected as an art. But, how can something be art when it offers no perspective, no insight, no feeling? This, in my eyes was yet another blatant display of facts…… facts that we are all very aware of…… I learned nothing new. When I see art, I want to FEEL something, I want the artist to connect me to the subject. This is why I enjoy art, more than the newspaper, per say. What is the point of attempting to attain insight if you will only be inundated with painfully numbing facts? Basically you show me that people suffer. Well, we know that. They suffer everywhere! And, their suffering gives the opportunity for very shocking photos, photos that any photographer can take. The shock value, although potentially grand,even overwhelming to the point of causing our eyes to be convinced that we have seen a ” great picture” provides me with no new feeling, no new inspiration, no connection. You have a subject matter , as pretty much any subject matter, that could make for very compelling artistic work……. but please…… compel me! I want to feel something new, I want to feel connected to the subject, but I need you to connect me, through your eyes. The only problem here is, I don’t feel you are connected, so even if the story was about teenage pregnancy in th U.S., I wonder if you would be able to bridge that “disconnected gap”.

  23. Lisa (said)
    February 26, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    “…I do have plans to explore this story in my own home country….”

    Yes Lisa… ( no pun intended ) … but please, please, please DO THAT…FIRST , not last…
    START with YOU, then your family, then your village, then your country…. and yes when you really
    do all that, with honesty…and RESPECT…
    then , yes… go and expose the poor third world…. but please dont skip those MAJOR steps…
    its important…

  24. panos, I find it amusing that you are imposing your asthetic on Lisa. Kind of like us old PJ’s, huh?

  25. Brutal in here.

    Maybe Lisa has something up her sleeve. She says it’s a five year global project, sounds interesting to me. Doesn’t sound like she’s trying to make a quick buck selling exploitation to a daily rag.

    Didn’t hear a whole lot of uproar when Jonas Bendiksen did The Places We Live. Surely we know people live in squalor, right?

    I happen to know quite a few clueless, ignorant people who may not understand the extent of some these problems.

    Just thinking here.

  26. Jim, i know you love “reading” yourself here… man…
    All eyes on you…
    but please do me a favor and read carefully, before you speak man…
    please… you keep making things harder for the rest of us…
    Adele senior

  27. Jared, think of “Sabine”…or
    ohhhhhhhhhhh Jonas B!!!!!!!!!!! thanks for bringing it up…

  28. I find myself being stupidly picky again. Many of the images stand on their own, telling their own stories, asking their own questions, as they should. As a whole, without reading the text, they need an edit. After reading the text I’m left not quite full. Delivery? What’s it like for these kids? Where? How? How is there with them? Who is there for them after delivery? Nobody? Show me. I feel like I started a meal and it ended after the appetizer. But please don’t let this diatribe detract from the most important part which is that some of the photos in this set are top notch! Please keep working on this project, it is far from done and you have your finger on the pulse of it!

  29. Jared,
    speaking of Jonas B…!
    i didnt get any disrespectful poking though his work…
    and he served ART very very well…
    but i will agree with JIM & LISA … on one thing…
    there was no ART intended here… thats so honest on her part…its just PJ…
    i didnt see no ART either… she is simply trying to save the world…
    this is where i get ( a little ) nauseous…because i dont see any PJ promotion either..
    just a CLICHE…
    BUT again, if the photog gets BRAVE enough and turn the camera to her own neighborhood or family first…
    then i will stop opposing …maybe in 5 years… thats fine….
    but until then, this attempt is an enormous CLICHE…
    thats all.

  30. Ah, panos. Sorry I’m somehow blocking the light of your special insight. Just because you don’t like straight photojournalism doesn’t invalidate it.

  31. Jim,
    You ??? are blocking the light…?
    man keep on keeping flattering yourself…

  32. I hear you loud and clear Panos,
    my problem is, Jonas shows in galleries sure, has a cool book design,
    but he promoted that project in a kind of PJ framework,
    to show how they live, that’s a “straight” PJ idea
    his open caption info gives facts as to overpopulation and poverty
    is the argument here that Lisa is not as good as Jonas, it’s not gallery worthy?
    cause we seem to be attacking her a)intent or, b)her naivete

    maybe Jonas is better at getting people to relax than Lisa, the subject looks more comfortable, but ostensibly both sets of subjects agreed to be photographed,
    to be worse than Jonas Bendiksen’s surely not a crime…

    not sure really what I feel about this piece, I think it’s a little cliche myself,
    must think more on it

  33. eduardo sepulveda

    Lisa, as i’m looking at your portfolio right now, i forget about the essay… i forget even about photography, i just feel insane envy about your (photografic)approach to people!

  34. Jared my friend,
    one of my favorite PJ’s of all time is James Nachtwey…
    I have no problem with STRAIGHT photography… AT ALL…
    ( doesnt matter how loose i wanna think i am, or wannabe…)…
    im allergic to CLICHES…
    JAMES NACHTWEY is an ORIGINAL… but my boy James P. above is the DEFINITION of all CLICHES…
    ( no wonder he loved this essay… im glad he did… )
    ( again, no problem with STRAIGHT photography… at all… regardless if im able to do it…or not
    f**k me, its not about what i like…. i agree , i dont like it “straight”… but JAMES NACHTWEY
    makes me forget about straight, art or bullshit… you know why he is a MASTER????
    Of course i’m sure you know….because HE IS ABLE TO MAKE ME FORGET about all those distinctions ,
    because he is able to NAIL me on his cross…. because his stories are impossible to ignore…
    James N… doesnt even let me think….i feel hypnotized, mesmerized….
    James Nachtwey took straight photography to another level….

  35. You are all perfectly entitled to your opinions but I am horrified with the vicious attacks on a fellow photographer. Constructive criticism is always acceptable but this blatant thrashing is really disgusting and maybe it is not always wise to throw stones in glass houses. I personally know Lisa, we have worked together in Sydney, Australia and i know her as one of the most caring and dedicated photographers that i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. For all of you who are blindly judging Lisa and telling her to photograph in her own backyard, she has for several years done exactly that and when she embarked upon the teenage pregnancy story it was done with empathy, a subject with which Lisa had a personal interest in through her own life experiences, giving her a deeper understanding and respect of her subjects. It would be a sad world indeed if we only photographed what was in front of us in our own backyard and who really has the right to be telling anyone what they should and should not be taking photos of! I think some of the people here have such tunnel vision, shallow minds and are a little self absorbed, and maybe need to put more energy into improving their own photography. There you go, constructive criticism for the knockers! your points would be of no assistance to anyone at all except maybe the feeding your own egos.

  36. Panos,
    I’m sure we’ll have a few drinks and talk about this some more tomorrow,
    a few drinks are sure to spur my thinking. :)
    the argument still seems to be that she didn’t quite pull it off for you,
    didn’t make you forget the art/straight nonsense,
    her crime seems to be “not good enough,” too easily pigeonholed in to the straight category.

    The thing Nachtwey did on drug-resistant TB really gave me pause. for the first time I was questioning the point of some largely redundant photos. Really strong, amazing photos but something missing for me.

    Is the critique of Lisa really anything but that…

    I maybe just don’t get it, always a possibility. :)

  37. Jared…
    ok .. lets talk about all that manana…
    Brother David opened the Pandoras box…
    once again!
    what more can we ask ?????????????
    viva conyroversy///

  38. … controversy… sorry
    gotta go to bed….
    a magical night awaits ahead…
    and “she” naked … in the bed..
    what more can i ask??????????
    goodnight y’all
    live… from big bear

  39. wow..I was pretty mesmerized by your work, I went to your site, which I like too, and looked through the sets. really wonderful talented work, I think you have some uncanny abilities. I think the first thing i noticed was how close you get, it seems emotional closeness, then the balance and tension of your compositions, and the little details that force you to look in closer. I found myself really enjoying the sensation of looking at your work.

    best wishes,

  40. Hi Lisa, I like the story but the way you went about it left me kinda bored. Towards the end of the essay I was more interested in the composition more than anything else, and you have some great shots. But you could have easily had this down to an edit of say 18.

    You have too many images of teenagers just looking pissed off!

    Quite a few images simply repeated themselves, and the panoramic images disrupted the flow for me. They were not needed. I also felt you should look at the wider implications rather than have it written in the pop up text.

    Thank you

  41. Lisa:


    “Comes down to editing…..sometimes you just want to beat your head against the wall. Don’t get me wrong I love the process but so often I look at my work and think damn, why didn’t i put that one in??..”

    I HEAR ya ;)))….i usually think, after i’ve finished a project, or published it, as with here and Bones, i think “fuck, why didnt i take those out” ;)))))…..the thing about editing is a never-ending process right, and the truth is that there is NO right or wrong edit, cause photographers react/see entirely differently…as a writer too, when Im writing an essay or prose-piece or poem, the edit is fun and time consuming and always tricky: how does one get the music right? ;)))…same with pics…the best one can do is stick with their instincts and examine, what is it they want to piece to speak about…and get another eye;))….but, you know that cause you are a deeply deeply committed and talented photographer :)))…so happy to see U here….

    Now, gotta get Tamara, Lisa here too :)))…


  42. hi lisa

    great that you are / have been here to respond and hopefully you´re still around, despite some of the posturing and bullshit :ø)

    you´ve been good enough to reveal that this is the early stages of a project and the fact that it is self funded, backed up superbly by the work on your site and tackles a difficult issue stands to your credit.

    having mentioned it is the early stages, as you have, i guess most of my comments would be known to you already :ø)
    i think the way you are approaching the story is spot on – as anton is doing with his mafia piece in japan.. as i would guess many humanitarian or concerned photographers would approach a subject.
    you are taking your time to gain trust, access and find the honesty within the subject you have chosen.
    i think the approach of taking the project in chapters is good – and perhaps over the 5 years of the project perhaps these early photographs will be cut to a short number.. with each chapter, visit, or connection the project is bound to twist and turn.. if i know anything about long term projects it is that the unforeseen results are a product of an open mind, genuine honesty and time.. time to get to know the subjects.

    respect for having the attributes above.. there is nothing so utterly bemusing as a hit and run approach to a subject such as this.

    so as early ´notes´ on a longer journey i think you have done really well..
    there is a little repetition, which i am sure will dissolve over time, and i would love to see photos taken from a wider distance.. where the people live.. and, and i think someone mentioned here – details.. contextual shots which will fill in the gaps and complete the story, perhaps enabling you to present the work with less text, (guilty of not reading the captions here)..

    you are looking into an important subject here and it´s encouraging to know that PJ´s are still working.. even if funding is absent.. to cover stories and issues which are relevant the world over, from the states, aus and europe to the majority world.
    if everyone looks after something, then everything will be looked after.

  43. editing is as much work as shooting – bob and lisa – no?

    photo heaven leads to editing hell.. although it is about the most rewarding thing in the world to arrive at an intelligent and easily understood point when the clicking is done.

    something which i think is neglected – editing is just as much a part of the work as shooting, as i guess you will both know.. the longer the project the longer the editing.

    perhaps the difficulty with editing here – and i wrote this to a friend recently – is that the story is not yet complete.. therefore the point is somewhat muted and the message is mixed.. or sometimes too shallow..

    i wonder how this will progress and really am looking forward to seeing more – THIS is just the kind of early stage project which i hope gains funding through the EPF.
    it may progress to concerntrate upon one or two families or it may, as you intend, grow to become a world wide project regardless of the GDP of the country concerned.
    i hope it leans toward the latter in time, since it has been talked about above how this is a problem which transcends cultures… it has the promise to run and run and weave it´s own conclusion.

    good luck :ø)

  44. hi Lisa..

    Very nice to see your work here. First, above all, I respond to your work (across the board) because of who I know you to be (though we don’t know each other in the traditional sense); a dedicated, compassionate, caring human, and for me that comes through as a constant in your work. It is no small thing to care so deeply and to invest yourself as you continually do, self-generating projects of import. There isn’t a ‘but’ here..my point is that you have exactly what is needed to do this work, and it uplifts me that you do.

    Regarding this series, I am really impressed with your ability to have faded into the background and not be ‘seen’ in the work in a physical sense. For a work in progress I find it quite strong..my favorite images (using your website numbering) are 3 for the ambiguity of the relationship between them now, 5, 8 (lovely, natural moment), 11 (the abundance..), 15, 17 (love this one, with what appears to be the echo of graduation behind her, hers or someone else’s, doesn’t matter, it still looms) and 24 (not my favorite compositionally, but heartbreaking to me, I can so imagine being one of those kids and pretending that the fake room was real..)

    It is a perpetual challenge / issue..how can you spend more time, money, to make this as you want it to be. It is somewhat crazy what photographers go through to make a personal vision actual, but you above many will be able to pull it off. I like the idea of exploring this topic more broadly, your heart will guide you..

    As a side note, I recently shot something for Boston Magazine on the teen pregnancy ‘scandal’ in Gloucester, Massachusetts. On some level, the issue is a world apart from yours, but on another, these are just girls needing to find their way now..I only had an afternoon to shoot the piece and had restrictions on what I could show, so it is inspiring to see your images that feel so open and relaxed. Press on!

    Jared.. you wrote “I saw a caption that said something to the effect that “many of this woman are pregnant by family members and abuse.” It makes one think the subject is pregnant due to this, if you don’t have a subject in this circumstance” maybe you missed it, but, the main subject here was made pregnant by her cousin without her consent.

  45. I think We should all try to remember that a piece such as this , if/when it is published, would be the backbone for a story. The story would be carried, probably, mainly by the words. The images, although important, would work in harmony with the written story. What we are seeing here is a slideshow of the imagery. Half of the equation only if you like. Without its supporting cast of adjectives, verbs etc.. it is very difficult to make any WORTHWHILE comment on how effective they are. With powerful writing and a good AD/editorial team doing the layout it would probably rock. I think Slagging of work like this, while it is out of context and ‘not fully dressed’ is a bit unfair. Show me the full page mock ups of the article and then I will be able to fully understand whether I think it is a finished piece.
    Otherwise we just end up with people attacking a giraffe because it doesnt look like an elephant.

  46. DB:

    totally agree…editing…for me, as interesting and as important as shooting/printing…and it changes all the time depending on the ‘reason’ (for web, for exhibition, for book, for my own head)…the interesting thing for me is how to ESCAPE the nightmare of ALL STORIES LOOKING THE SAME; that is, creating a ‘rules of editing’ nomenclature…i hate it (bones was an attempt to throw that mentality out the window), cause, as with writing or music, editing means the music of the story, the movement, the detail, the repetition…it’s tough….i think (personally opinion) too many photographers, too many editors, LOOK at stories as if they’re looking at SINGLES put together. That IS THE FEELING i get here at Burn when i read the comments…but, it’s not unusual, i hear that from editors, i see it at LS, i see it in magazines, etc….people look at a story like this:

    “that’s a great photo, that’s a great photo, that one doesnt work, that one is repetitive, that one is great” etc……when in reality, for some stories that is important (maybe for example a short, precise reportage), but for other stories it’s silly (think of Duane Michals edits a sequence, or Frank’s book Storylines)….i think the key to editing is to attempt to get the narrative of the pictures to express in the best way what it is the story is about, the essence of it…but, that’s a very difficult thing…and i tend, unfortunately, to one either lots of photographs or almost none….that’s my struggle…

    anyway, sorry Lisa, for side bar discussion….though important…


  47. Lisa your sensitivity to epic story telling is exceptional. The introduction of your Wallerwang essay kicked me hard in the stomach, i never saw coming the higher-ground ‘turn’ you were going to take with your story motive, it was a refreshing departure from the typical cliché crisis approach.

    where most would see the Wallerwang ‘power tower’ subject as a topic of electricity and just artistically frame pylons, you explored the victim’s way of living. Rather than demonising the electricity companies, you celebrated the categorical kindness of nineteen thousand people. this story will stay with me for a while, probably because now that i know about it, it’s a story that i will share with most of my friends. i also think Parr would like your stealthy story telling here as it reminds me of Last Resort’s side-ways swipe at an issue and a non-classical way to message an issue.

    it was also refreshing to see such a clear departure in style from your Teenage Pregnancy piece in the Wallerwang piece, the compositional techniques for Wallerwang seemed to be heavily influenced by a Robert Frank’s style of framing where Teenage Pregnancy and again the Enrique’s Playground seem to emulate the prevailing ‘world-press’ aesthetic; it’s not bad, it’s just a bit predictable and not at all easy to assign to any single author.

    that being said, i think it’s great that you’re still exploring style so dramatically Lisa, i suspect at the pace your developing that you will arrive at a style that is very much your own after all of this exploration. i think there was some of your own personal magic at work with your Urban Indigenous Australian piece, although all of your work shows your talent and other pieces were more coherent, i found more surprises in that piece regarding your framing ideas and subject ideas, more so than the other pieces.

    as far as the Teenage Pregnancy story, i do think you proved again you’re an exceptional photographer, in every situation you witnessed you managed to tease out a very stimulating still image. i do think there are more clever shots in there than i’d prefer, more shots instead of other more important images (i’ll later describe), but clever shots must be the love of photo-editors and are only recognisable by other photographers attempting to create clever shots, so photographers will see this as ‘photographic flexing’ at times, but your audience should not be photographers and i’m certain mainstream magazine editors will seek out your work more than any other work i’ve seen so far on Burn. i won’t be surprised at all if i pick up a magazine tomorrow and see your images covering a story i would enjoying knowing about.

    but i do think you let down a bit your own understanding of what you saw with the Teenage Pregnancy piece based on how well you showed your understanding in the introduction. In the Wallerwang piece your epic story was not man against machine, it was a celebration of a charitable aspect of mankind.

    In the Teenage Pregnancy piece you did discover and did introduce two epic concepts that you didn’t really explore very well with your visual tools: ‘man against himself’ and ‘man against the church’.

    it’s clear that you discovered something you suggest might benefit from change, you’ve discovered something that might prevent that change, you’ve provided visual information suggesting the consequence of not changing, but you’ve not provided any visual articulation of the opponents to change.

    for example you introduce the concept of the church as a possible roadblock to contraception, but in only one image do you include any religious iconography? Did you entirely steer clear of it? i think the influence of the church in this essay is a leg of the stool it needs for support of what you introduced. i’m not saying the church is an issue, but you’ve introduced it as such, but you’ve not followed it through with any visual presence.

    also, the man against man epic: the seemingly self-defeating aspect of co-ed access. This is another missing leg maybe. You’ve introduced access and proximity of sexual propensity in your introduction, the degree of co-ed sleeping arrangements might also increase the propensity of occurrence, a propensity that is even able to counter the cultural mores of incest-like activity. How prevalent is co-ed / family intercourse? Is this an issue that needs to be articulated and brought to the surface? How ironic would it be if intercourse with cousins is socially acceptable and sleeping in co-ed beds with cousins prevalent? I don’t know the answer, but you’ve introduced it with text, but you did not follow through with visual imagery.

    You’re a much better photography Lisa than i plan to be, so please take what i say more as ideas than opinions or feedback, and definitely not criticism. Actually i’ve never felt compelled to say this before, but if you ever find a project that you feel needs to be explored and would yield some images that need to be published, please send me an e-mail and i’d love to see what i could do to help you fund the project; i’m sure it would be a good investment. Also, based on your personality, i’m certain you would be exceptional in front of a workshop of photographers that would surely pay to hear how you arrived at the level you’ve attained. If you’re ever in the UK and you’re interested in delivering one of these workshops I would have no problems laying out the investment for that as well, again i’m certain it would be a good investment.

    Best wishes.


  48. Lisa,

    The story is definitely important as an effort to create awareness of a sad situation, unfair if you allow me to. But regarding the essay, I think the fact that every picture has a whole story itself, narrated in front of the image, kills the image and diminish the power of the written text.

    As a feedback for you, I found the essay structure and format not making justice to the importance of the message, it got me interested then tired, lost the point, distracted.

    J Sors

  49. joe´s killing it.. proper support with a selfless edge.
    take it your shares have risen again? :ø) (it´s david bowen BTW)

    john is on the money as well.. illustrative news pieces are intended to be with essays and i think as the project develops further visually and then a writer is taken on board, or a contextual piece is written by you lisa, it will be the time for feedback.. more likely though is that it will be time for phot ed appraisals.


    the game for me right now – today – is playing with pairs of images, triptychs and short stories.. dividing the whole into chapters, as lisa is doing, although retrospectivly rather than initially.

    SO much more fun with prints than on a computer screen..

  50. Thank you, Joe, for offering us a model of an empowering critique. May we all learn from you how to state our thoughts and opinions in ways that help move our sister/brother photographers forward. And I’m referring not only to your words but to your offer of tangible assistance. Man, you are the real thing!


  51. Jenny E.
    hey , buonjorno from the cold Big Bear…
    I need to tell you something really important…
    I was NOT attacking ( viciously??? what a joke !!!) , the photog ( LISA )
    personally… just the WORK itself…
    i dont remember one single word of personal attack …
    I was trying to express my ideas ( sorry, but this is my job in this channel, like it or not ),
    and im sure that Lisa & All of us will get the same , if not harder type of critique if we step
    into Magnum or NatGeo…..
    LISA wanted feedback , right ????
    well, that was she got back… Jenny, like it or not, feedback…sometime cuts like a knife…
    ( and Jenny dont confuse my personal games with my friend Jim Powers… me & jim have this almost “erotic”
    relationship for quite a while now… Me and Jim are like lonng time married lovers that love each other but cant stant each other… Jim P. is for me a barometer or a thermometer in this BURNed photo world…
    If Jim likes something, then i know its bad… If Jim loves it , then i know its horrible….
    Laughing… Love you Jim, cant wait for you to wake up!;)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    Again, Jenny, i understand where you coming from… You feel like being the lawyer , but hey there is no court here, dont be defensive… I realized that other photogs ( like BOBB for example , know Lisa personally but they totally get it…they dont defending just to defend!!!!!!!
    And to lighten up a bit, and take the seriousness away… watch some american idol… we are both funny,
    i can see you Jenny totally as PAULA ABDUL and myself as SIMON C… ,
    but seriously, no attack on that girl… she wanted feedback and i gave it to her..
    She will hear exactly the same stuff if not more intense when she will step into the NatGeo or Magnum door…be prepared… its tough out there…..
    Again, Jenny E, all my respect to you but please please read my comments once more, stop crying and mourning, and WELCOME TO BURN !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. JOE said…
    … but your audience should not be photographers and i’m certain ((( mainstream))) magazine editors will seek out your work more than any other work i’ve seen so far on Burn.

    (Amen Joe, thats what i wanted to say, but i had to write 15 pages and still didnt nail it….
    frustrating… MAINSTREAM, yep thats the word… no ART ( like i said earlier , Lisa is honest.. never pretended to be an artist… but as a PJ ???? totally MAINSTREAM… thats what i mean when i refer to my boy Jim Powers… Jim P( lovely guy , btw ), represents and defines MAINSTREAM…)
    DAMN Joe , i wish could afford to hire you and write here for me… laughing…
    So Jenny??? see now what i meant ????????????? hope so…!!!!!!!!!!)

  53. LISA

    I am very taken with the story you’ve chosen to tell: it is a compelling issue in today’s world. To my way of thinking, you bring compassion and commitment to this task, and your incredible talent as a photographer is serving you well. I also appreciate your seeing this essay as just the start of a long-term project that will likely take you to diverse places and people around the world. In relation to that, I live in Detroit, Michigan where there is a public high school devoted solely to young women who are pregnant or mothers of young children. It’s called The Catherine Ferguson Academy and I could make connections there for you, if you’d like. Ed and I could also offer you a bed to sleep in while you’re in town. Please let me know if you’re interested. My email is croneart@comcast.net

    Keep up the good work. It’s important.


  54. …and Jenny E,
    one last thing… again if you… if you take sometime ( for real this time though )
    and read peoples comments here… nobody told Lisa to ONLY photograph her own backyard ONLY!!!!!!!!!!
    NO MADAM… all i ( at least ) said is that , START exposing your self or village first , before you come to my third world “backyard”….cmon Jennyyyyy… !!! ( i love you too, take it easy and dont worry , love will prevail…)

  55. Lisa,

    Congratulations! Amazing work and it is so refreshing to see a new exciting talent emerging. I was moved and excited by the quality and depth of your stories on your website and I really hope you find funding to continue what is a really important social documentary story. You definitely are an amazing emerging talent and I sincerely wish you well and I will follow your progress with interest.

    To Panos, While I wholeheartedly support freedom of speech I do suggest you refrain from commenting anymore, this site isn’t about you or your sex life or your personal attacks on other bloggers. The other contributors to this blog have made some important valuable constructive comments that I am sure Lisa has taken on board and will help her to improve, your dribble has ruined an extremely interesting and important discussion and taken away from the story the photographer is trying to tell and the way the photographer is articulating her photographic narrative to the rest of us. Yes, there are imperfections but if you could ‘see’ like Lisa can ‘see’ you would be truly gifted. Unfortunately you are not.

  56. Good, solid work, Lisa; congratulations.
    My edit would be 1,2,3,5,10,11,14(liked the statue of the virgin watching over the mothers),16,17,20,21 (ties in well with 3),23(shows the children alone). the captions were a little messy (did you use metadata to automatically produce them) as they showed the specific caption for each photograph together with general details for the whole story. I prefer to see one “overview” caption at the beginning of an essay and then short, specific-to-the-photograph-shown captions thereafter – as you have with some other work on your website. My personal opinion, hope it helps.

    I would love to see the conditions of your subjects compared with other strata of Philippine society: I’m sure that it would only add to the sense of outrage that your photographs so rightly elicit from this viewer. I would also like to see the influence and work of the Catholic Church portrayed here: good and bad. The whole issue of contraception is a contentious one and it should be remembered that religious and secular organizations do attempt to alleviate the plight of the needy and often use photographers as partners (e.g. I believe that Pep Bonet has collaborated with Medecins Sans Frontieres on occasions) in order to highlight such injustice. Such a collaboration may help you to return although I’m sure that you have considered such an arrangement. Whatever the stance the viewer takes on the subject of contraception, the government of the Philippines should not be let off the hook. I do hope that you are able to continue with this body of work and fulfill your wish to compare the issue of teenage pregnancy in other societies. Like your website Lisa.

    Best wishes,


  57. Brad my dearest friend..
    I’m you are religiously Reading my stuff ..
    Keep doing so..
    I’m here for you too…
    Big hug for senior Brad today…

  58. Some really beautiful and compelling images in this essay. I am interested to see where it goes from here. While I agree with an above sentiment that it might be complete when paired with words, I think this has great potential to be a powerful piece on its own. Just needs some editing and perhaps some added points of view and it could be a powerful photo essay. Good work.

  59. .. Sorry Brad.. I meant to say , I’m happy..
    that you are Reading every comment I write..
    Even when I talk about my sex life..
    That’s one of the reasons I do it..
    Because of readers like you..
    Because you care..
    Thanks again mr Brad for your endless support..
    Keep studying and don’t worry..
    More to come, and for you ( and me)..???
    More to learn :)))))

  60. Interesting stories don’t always generate interesting photos.
    My approach to every essay presented here but also when I open a new book, or read a piece in a magazine, is to skip the words and delve straight to the pictures.
    The reason to do so is because I want to respond to the visual strength of the pictures and not because Ι expect them to tell the stories themeselves.
    Pictures hardly ever know haw to make a narrative.
    Photo #11 is a good shot, it’s completely irrelevant to the story per se but that doesn’t bother me at all.
    I also distinguish #19 for its aesthetic merits and its ambivalence.

  61. Lisa, I’ve just read Joe’s comment. I always take time to carefully read Joe’s comments as he always offers sound advice and always attempts to move a photographer forward. Never criticism; just good, sound advice (I hope you’re blushing, Joe). So when you read such praise from Joe, you can believe it. Congratulations again!


  62. mike

    it´s the comparisons which i think will make this project over time..
    an important aspect of that is to illustrate it as a world wide problem – certainly coveing the u.k. which has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in europe.
    this makes me think that the remit of the project could develope way beyond religion and into areas of education in general..
    it makes me think that this is just the type of project which could interest bodies such as the u.n.

    lisa – have you as yet sought any funding to expand the project further afield?

  63. joe – has a habit of seeing beyond the photos and digging into the concept .. a thinker with the ability to articulate complicated ideas with simple expressions..

    mike r.. spot on..

    joe – will hit you up with how the edit is coming along.. just more thought needed into the sequencing and i think i have found the way of expressing some of the darkness we talked about in london without being too literal. :æ)

    back to lisa.. and on and on..

  64. I think that this is really amazing start for very powerful subject matter. The compositions are beautiful with low light, mirror reflections, and interesting angles. Obviously the story is about the plight of these girls, and Lisa handled it with a feminine sensitivity. I love that these shots were mostly of the interiors of where they lived, but I do feel that the essay would benefit from shots outside the interior environment…perhaps shots inside the schools, showing a decreasing number of girls in the classrooms…or shots of the Churches and their ignorant leaders who are allowing this problem to grow…or of the evidence of the growing AIDS/HIV problem and the lack of healthcare that is provided for these people. I think that Lisa was on the right track by including imagery from the hospitals w/ the breastfeeding areas. Great start…I’m excited to see where this project goes and how it evolves…especially if she goes global with it, as she mentioned she would like to…

    I agree with you, Lisa, about the whole editing process as well. It is something that I struggle with a bit as well (again agreeing with you that I love every step of the process, but find editing to be a challenge sometimes). It is with a discerning eye that we can arrange our stories to pack the most powerful punch in the way that we intend to. Great job thus far…

  65. Hi Lisa, I think your story is very important. Having visited the Philippines myself I have seen with my own eyes what is serious problem the country is facing with over-population. It is reaching critical mass, and with such a strained infrastructure and poor economy the situation is destined to spiral to tragic proportions. The catholic influence and poor, (and hypocritical) governmental policy is creating a truly desperate situation. Keep up your work, this story needs to be told.

    You have a very gentle approach to your photography and I wonder if this is to the detriment to this story in some cases. I feel a little more impact, a little more emotion, a little more tension would help you. I am pleased to hear this is a long term project as you can push for this on future visits. I like you use of light and you have great access. I look forward to seeing more! Images 4,5,9,13,14,21,22 worked for me.

    Have you been to the Oarhouse? Great place to hang out and meet other photogs and Journalists!


  66. lisa:

    sorry i just found this now. it has been a long 48 hrs shooting a project myself :) this story is amazing lisa. i love it. and i love your website as well. this is very well done and it is nice to see both this story on here and so many wonderful comments about this.

  67. Pinoy Photographer

    Being a Pinoy the essay has a certain resonance with me. It’s an unfortunate truth that teenage pregnancy is common all over the archipelago and contributes to the cycle of poverty. There ought to be more sex education everywhere, plus making access to prophylactic mechanisms (e.g. condoms) as easy as possible. But let’s not forget that this phenomenon exists, not only in poor 3rd world nations, but even also in rich ones! The UK and USA are good examples.

    As for the essay itself, I must agree with some commenters that the images were a little repetitive. Ultimately, the whole story was a little lacking in something. OK, so you’re talking about teenage pregnancy, I expect that you want to present the various problems that emanate from that and their impact on, not necessarily on the larger society or even town, but on the teenagers’ lives. I just wasn’t getting that. Too many bedroom shots here, too.

  68. DB, “It´s the comparisons which i think will make this project over time..” – me too. The Philippines is somewhat off the “compassion radar” for some reason – or should that be the “anger radar”? If one looks at the surrounding countries in term of the development of human rights (non-human-rights is another issue) then the Philippines is a desperate place (reminds me of Haiti).

  69. Hey Lisa, really fantastic stuff!

    Important, important work… these kids having kids for all sorts of reasons is just really another example of the non-sustainability of the way we are living now. I don’t know who wrote it but really if this stuff is not published we would not even think outside our own little worlds. THINK people, if Lisa had not photographed this then would we even be discussing critical over-population?

    This because of catholic dogma as well…

    To me this is a fantastic example of the beginning of a long term story and one which Lisa is absolutely perfectly suited to do, for her compassion and talent as a photographer.

    I would never be as arrogant to think that there is much that I could offer in terms of critique except to say, Lisa you just go for it- its great work on every level!

    PANOS- Pull your head in brother, sometimes I even shut the f*** up and learn!

  70. Nice pictures, color, compositions, etc. but sorry, I don’t get it. I don’t see the struggle here. It’s mostly seems to be downtime moments, hanging out. Raising a baby is a full time job, just keeping it alive. They scream and cry and need to be fed every three hours and diapers changed. It’s tough enough at 45 with a nice house, income, already gotten your ya ya’s out etc etc let alone being a teen mother. I can’t ven imagine it. No education, no money. I would have like to see more of the “nuts and bolts” of these young women’s lives.

    In fact I’ve had to stop twice in writing this small critique in order to comfort a crying kicking baby who is hungry. I came home from briefly working at the studio and my wife was nearly at her wit’s end as she was out of milk, the baby wanted to keep eating, and wouldn’t settle.

    So I hope Lisa takes the piece a bit further. I would actually say it needs more pj and less art.

    Okay, now I gotta go change a diaper….

  71. Thank you all so much for your constructive criticism. This project is in its beginning stages and I am really passionate about telling this story. I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time in the Philippines and really grateful that these young women and men let me into their lives.

    Part of me thought I should hold back the images until the project is completely finished but I realized I needed help and Burn has enabled me to display this project in its infancy and learn from the constructive comments made by so many of you. They are invaluable!

    I am currently trying to obtain funds to continue this project. But its so so tough…….I just hope something comes through so I can give this my full attention. If anyone knows of any avenues to obtain funds, please let me know. Again thank you all so much I have been truly inspired by many of you.

  72. Hope you get funding Lisa; I presume that you have applied for the Emerging Photographer Grant here at Burn Magazine? Another place to apply is CAFOD, a Catholic charity http://www.cafod.org.uk/ which may provide access in return for photographs. It would also be a way to document the other side of the coin with regard to the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception (not mine) – there are always other viewpoints; always shades-of-grey.

    Best wishes,


  73. LISA…

    you have certainly done an amazing job of fielding all the feedback here!!! you are a class act my dear, class act….well, you told me you wanted it, and you certainly got it!!…i was going to close your essay to comments actually (as we will do for essays in the future), but i could not figure out how to do it , and Anton was flying to Tokyo…i want comments of course, but i think it best if they all come under Dialogue , so your essay can stay “up” on the front longer without the conversation drifting away to Aunt Sara’s birthday cake…know what i mean???

    now you have brought up a very interesting thing..funding…very few people seem to be aware of the Emerging Photographer Fund grant….you would imagine many would seek the 10K grant..and they would..they just do not know about it…maybe even you?? i mean, it is right here…when i was ready to publish Mike Brown the other day, he said he knew nothing of it even though he read Burn pretty regularly…anyway, i am not a juror…so it is quite legit for me to say to you…apply!!

    since there is an overall lack of awareness on this EPF grant, i may extend the deadline by two weeks..i am just not the “banner ad” type, but i have worked hard to make sure there was funding for a worthy photographer, so it would be a shame from my viewpoint to have someone who deserved funding who somehow did not know of this fund…oh yes, and in your case, there is also the Inge Morath grant for women, that Magnum photographers give in June…apply, apply…the Aftermath Fund, W.Eugene Smith grant, the Alicia Patterson grant , all are very good funding sources as well…

    cheers, david

  74. There is the “Prix Canon de la femme photojournaliste” too, you will have to present a file (your project, your budget and your last work), I know the deadline is in June…

    Best, audrey

  75. David,

    I wonder if there are many out there, who like me, intend to submit to EPF but are holding back until the deadline…

    Personally, I’m driving myself nuttier editing and sequencing for the submission. In fact after reading the comments about the type of photographer (strong, clear subject vs ‘invent’ the concept), I’m seriously rethinking what I want to send in. Further, I’ll admit Panos’ thoughts about subjects like Lisa’s ‘Teenage Pregnancy’ are causing me to pause and actually reconsider my whole outlook on the pictures I take (“Africa” being a big theme).

    BURN keeps me thinking, inspiring me to try new ideas…that’s for sure.


  76. Joni;

    Here in NZ we have the third highest rate of teen pregnancies in the developed world. Yet there is ample sex information out there and no church pressure regarding contraception etc. Why? I don’t think anyone seems to know..

  77. When I look at work like this, as well as the rest of it on your website, I am reminded of how important it is to look throughout the veiwfinder…beyond the main subject. I love your placement. I love the closenss and yet invisible you. Truly inspiring photography.

  78. Dear Lisa,

    a very solid start to a piece that could be global in it’s universality (if pursued in the long-long-term)… would be excellent to see as many different stages (and angles) as possible, childbirth especially comes to mind and there is a definite potential for many other empathy-building images within this story to make it a memorable investigation.


  79. Dear Lisa,
    I cant make comment on the technical aspects of your pictures or words , all I can offer are my thoughts etc as a living caring human being reading about the plight of others sharing this planet .Your pictures illustrate well the story you tell . The words touvh the surface of a subject that could no doubt fill volumes .

    Something has to be done . Not just for the health and well being of the young mothers and their children , but for the country . How can The Philippines support and care for 142 million people ?

    Please continue to tell this and other stories , both in words and in pictures. Do not be discouraged , your work is worth viewing and I for one will continue to follow your essays .

    Thank you .

  80. Pingback: Burn: Teenage pregnancy « Art 263: Projects in Documentary Photography

  81. i too have to agree that the story goes well with the photos, and fogive me for being new to commenting on these types of things, but i would like to say that the ones that really did it for me were 17,19, and 21. i really like how in some pictures there were babies who could be seen through the frame of mirrors even though they could not be seen on say, a mattress that actually was in the photo. i myself have never been to the philippines, but seeing and hearing about the teen pregnancy issue gives me a whole different perspective of my friend (we’re both 18 years old), getting married in two years and is already 8 weeks pregnant. i too would like to hear more about this story, be educated, and drop my jaw in aww and future photos to come.

  82. if you want to see a real story go to youtube and look up the video for taylorbaby.com wow im still trying to dry my eyes i cant wait till she gets her website up.

  83. This essay is one that deserves many viewing, so rich ar the information on each image, both psychological, social and of course, photographical (colors, composition). What a tapestry altogether.

    On the problem at hand, I wonder if the accidental is not also cultural, instilled in some insinuous way (to become with catholic upbringing)? I instantly thought of 2 filipino “working class” families I know here, in San Francisco. Not especially financially challenged, but no “higher education”.

    Both had daughters who got pregnant at about 17, . The concern from both parents gave quickly way to expectation of the grand child. While vaguely hoping the kids can complete their schooling.

    In one of these families, the other child, the son had a child at 18, the mother being younger. He splits his time between the US (where he flips burgers, having quit school) and the phillipines where mother and child live.

    The main of my argument is that the pregnancies have been easily accepted by the families, nothing to commiserate upon, and certainly not a misfortune even though it derails the children schooling, which is at best wished, but not on the table anymore.

    It may correlate with teen pregnancy in the P.

  84. Pingback: The Flora Apalisok Free Children’s Clinic » Blog Archive » A Philippine bill for progress: HB 5043

  85. herve,
    in the philippines,
    there is nothing worse than booting your 18 year old kids
    out of your house to fend for themselves
    except for abortion.
    the grandparents have nothing else to do but accept…
    and i am sure they dont condone it,
    the moral gravity of the consequence of termination will kill them
    vs the financial burden of raising a little one.

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  87. When Jennifer finds her daughter is not home from school yet, her past flashed before her eyes with the memories of Jacy, love, death and becoming a mother at the age of sixteen.

    People would stop Jenny and ask if the child she was with was her sister. “No this is my child.” Yet the looks she got hurt her. She was 16 years old when her life changed forever. Despite being raised in a Christian home with strict religious values, some of her choices were careless, and they came with weighty consequences.

    A strange combination of sadness and joy overcome her when she turns back the clock. Names and faces float through her mind like ghosts that still haunted her but as always, a smile forms on her face and she remembers only love.

    THE SILVER LOCKET by Marie Fostino by Amazon e-book
    I am a mother of a teenager who had my beautiful grandchild while in high school. Hope you enjoy this easy read.

  88. Pingback: Teen Parenthood Documentary Research | Media and Documentary

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