Judith Black's photographs of her life as a single mother in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the 1980s

When Judith Black moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1979 with her four children, a friend asked her if they were going to be all right there. Frankly, she didn't know.

All images courtesy of Judith Black and the publisher, STANLEY/BARKER

All images courtesy of Judith Black and the publisher, STANLEY/BARKER

They had just moved into a dilapidated apartment in a neighbourhood that the real estate lady admitted was as good as they were going to find. The small convenience store down the block had "fuck you" fiercely spray-painted on the clapboard – a less than encouraging welcome for a family that had grown up in the bucolic hippie house they shared with Black's siblings in New Hampshire. Things didn't seem very promising for a single mother with little income and a houseful of young children.

But over the next two decades, Black would make a series of deeply felt images that chronicled the lives of her young children, and her evolving relationship with them. "I quickly realised that I was not going to be able to roam the streets to make photographs. I had limited time between working at MIT as an assistant, attending classes, and being a mother. Our apartment was dark, but it became my studio," she said.

Now some of those images have been brought together for a new book, Pleasant Street, published by STANLEY/BARKER. With an eye for the "strange and marvellous in the everyday", you will see how she focuses her lens with precision, humour, and deadpan reckoning. Find out more about her work at judithblack.me.


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