Every day when you walk down the street, you are seeing the world in a different way from everyone else you pass. Photography is one way of specifically capturing what you see in the world around you, allowing you to share it as you see fit. In my work, I tend to focus on color and light, and how they impact each other and work in unison to create the image that you see. My goal is not to create beauty, but rather to capture it and see if my photo will do the real thing any justice.
Rekindling is a photo essay about Antonia Rios. Rios is a single mother of eight kids who strives to reconnect her relationships with her children after they were put in foster care for four years. Rios used to be a drug addict and has come a long way since then. She has progressed as an individual, and as an extremely strong and caring parent. This compelling series of photographs displays a story waiting to be told, and gives hope to other single mothers in the world. Asking for help is a sign of strength, and that is how Rios prospered. For me, connecting with her and her family was an eye-opening and heartwarming experience that allowed me to see life through a different lens.
1. Antonia Rios, 40, walks outside of her apart- ment complex with her grandson Mateo, 3. Rios
is a mother of eight children, and she strives to re- connect with all her kids after they were in foster care for four years.
2. Karina, 10, Rios’s niece, and her daughters Mona, 17, and Viviana, 14, help Rios with her school project. Rios decided to go back to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor after being addicted to drugs for many years.
3. Jimmy, 7, and Ricky, 10, Rios’s sons, wrestle each other in the living room in Pomona Califor- nia, July 2016. Jimmy and Ricky both love being active and playing games with each other.
4. Elisa, 24, Rios’s oldest daughter, lies in the park with her two sons, Emilio, 7, and Damien, 2, during a family party. Elisa strives to be close with her kids and spend quality time with them.
5. Rios cautiously watches over Ricky when his asthma starts to act up after running around in the park all day, July, 2016.
6. Rios helps Jimmy work on an art project at the zoo, July, 2016. Jimmy loves to draw and be cre- ative, and Rios helps him to pursue his creativity.
7. Rios follows along in the bible during church in Pomona, California, July, 2016. Rios has been very involved in her church for the past seven years. She strives to be connected with her reli- gion, which has helped her overcome her drug addiction and become a strong parent.
8. Rios carries her mother’s ashes through a cemetery to visit her father’s grave, August, 2016. Rios’s mother passed away a couple months ago and her father died when she was very young. As she misses her parents dearly, she carries on their legacy and has their love in her heart.
9. Karina, Mona, Mateo, Viviana, and Antonia stand over her parents’ grave in Perris, California, as they mourn, August, 2016. Rios has brought her mom’s ashes to the cemetery so that she can see her parents together again.