Broken Circle, Children of Divorce
Broken Circle – Children of Divorce and Separation is a collaboration between me, the photographer, and young adults from families no longer together - either because of divorce or separation. The book consists of my portraits of them and their personal narratives in response to my questions about how their parents’ divorce or separation has affected their thinking and behavior in regard to relationships, commitment and their futures. The photographs are both straightforward and nuanced; the more you read in the words, the more you see in the portraits. They are interdependent texts, just as children are with their parents (and vice versa).
Given the opportunity, this population has poignant, often painful and illuminating observations to share: personal life experience that may help others. My experience with Broken Circle participants indicates these children have grown into insightful, concerned and aware young adults, well on their own paths—albeit more cautious, less trusting.
Commonly, participants mentioned that “No one’s ever asked me,” or “We don’t talk about that” or “I want to tell my story.” Their written statements moved back and forward in time, each one a revelation of the life-altering events and memories before, during, and after their family breakup.
Fifty percent of American children will experience the breakup of their parents’ marriage. Close to half of these children will also go through a parent’s second divorce. The majority of individuals raising children alone started out in committed relationships and never expected to be single parents.
Broken Circle is not pro or con divorce, but a poignant look at reality and consequences when parents’ focus on the children is not kept as a priority before, during and after the divorce or separation. Parents who divorce, separate, or stay together, “for the sake of the children” need only spend time with the Broken Circle participants to realize the implications are never simple.
Go to brokencircleproject.org to view the video interviews with professionals and read the comments from legal and mental health professionals discussing the importance of the Broken Circle project.
The Broken Circle project is also available as an exhibit. For more information or to become a participant, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Klein, Dec. 2012