From the Front Porch is a personal documentary intended to explore the roots of my family living in Southern Alabama and the situations they are currently facing as a family. Located in Selma, a place most commonly known for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous march across Edmund Pettus Bridge, my 95-year-old great grandmother, Pearl Duncan, currently resides with her grandson, Tony, his daughter, Lauryn and her daughter, Chasity. My great grandmother raised both Tony and Lauryn as a result of drug and alcohol abuse among family members and is now burdened with raising Lauryn’s second and surviving child, 3-year-old Chasity. Five generations live under one roof, as my grandmother nears her final years, Lauryn faces custody battles and imprisonment, and Tony struggles with substance abuse.
For several years, I have avoided keeping in touch with most of my family in Selma with some denial of my Southern blood and a certain level of disdain towards their lifestyle and background. As of March 2011, I am learning to use my camera as an outlet to better understand my family and how they are surviving on a day-to-day basis. Along with this journey comes many stories from the past, a need for survival on little to no income, moments of laughter, and moments of heartache and distress. To date, I am not entirely sure where this journey may take me or where it may end, but I do know that I am opening my own eyes to the lifestyles of a few people that make up rural, Southern America and more importantly- my family.