American Gothic speaks to us all in different ways and as a kid, I was always intrigued by it. Even though I grew up in a neighborhood where all around me daily life was a battle, I realized that everybody has struggles no matter who they are or where they come from. In the eyes of the American Gothic man and woman I see worry, sorrow and fear about life and the future. When I thought about how I could ever get out of my neighborhood, I was exhausted by the tough set of challenges ahead of me. But I discovered that I had a choice around how I would show up and face them - and this is what would really matter. I chose hope. Hope got me out of that awful neighborhood. So years later in my career, I revisited this painting and spontaneously decided to shoot a series of portraits that might reflect how others view their struggles and how they may choose to respond to them. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing or who is in front of the camera - because we all have struggles. I ask each person to take an introspective moment to acknowledge their current challenges, and then reflect on how they feel about them and how they will work through it. When I look at these images I see a wide range of emotions and values - curiosity, fear, resilience, humor, apprehension, exhaustion, strength. The eyes and body language are so revealing.