A Photographer By Alex Kotlowitz

1761 Words Apr 7th, 2015 8 Pages
Alex Kotlowitz met Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers in 1985 while working as a journalist. He was interviewing them for a photo essay in Chicago magazine on children living in poverty. The violence that occurred every day where the brothers lived in Governor Henry Horner Homes, or Horner, disturbed Kotlowitz. Lafeyette and Pharoah are 12 and 9 years old at the start of the book but have experienced more than many kids their age. The boys did not seem sure of what life held for them. Lafeyette told Kotlowitz, “If I grow up, I’d like to be a bus driver,” Lafeyette was not sure that he would grow up at just 10 years old (x). Kotlowitz wanted to show what it is like for children growing up in urban poverty after seeing the brothers’ resilience. When he mentioned possibly writing a book about the boys and the neighborhood children to their mother, LaJoe, she told him, “But you know, there are no children here. They’ve seen too much to be children” (Kotlowitz x). That statement convinced him that he needed to write There are no Children Here. The Rivers’ story is the story of everyone living in public housing. LaJoe would like to move her family out of the projects, but to do that she needs a good job, to get a good job she needs an education which is not available in the projects. Lafeyette and Pharoah are not receiving a good education because the schools don’t have the money. The Rivers’ family survives on $542 a month that they receive from the combined food stamps…
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