There are over 45 million Americans living below the poverty line. Photographer Louisa Marie Summer has captured the story of one such family. In her book, Jennifer's Family, she photographed the highs and lows of the life of a 26-year-old Rhode Island woman, her partner, and their four kids. They've struggled with illness, money troubles, and incarceration, but at the center of the book is hope.
"I want my kids to be better than I was, you know, as a kid," Jennifer explains in the book. "I want them to finish school and do a lot of things really good." Throughout the book, she expresses an innate selflessness: her hopes for her mother, her love for her kids, and her desire to make things better for her extended family. She never asks for more for herself. Jennifer's story is unique, but at the same time, it's relatable to anyone who's struggled to find their place in the world.
Ahead, Summer talks about the inspiration for the project and her deep relationship with Jennifer and her family.
All photographs are from the book Jennifer's Family by Louisa Marie Summer, Schilt Publishing, 2012. For a signed copy, please email Louisa Marie Summer at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Jennifer’s Family” will be exhibited next at Kunstverein Viernheim in Germany; opening is Saturday, June 18, 2016. The exhibition will run until July 31, 2016.