by Richard Bowen, with introduction by Amy Tan
The Chinese believe an unseen red thread joins those in this life who are destined to connect. For photographer Richard Bowen, that thread led him to China's state-run welfare institutions, where there are thousands of children, primarily girls, growing up without families to take care of them. Mei Mei presents a poignant glimpse of these remarkable children. Composed against neutral backgrounds, these portraits capture the girls’ inner lives, away from their often bleak surroundings. The images show an almost endless range of expressions: small faces filled with longing and hope, joy and sadness, humor and mischief, defiance and despair. Through the camera's eye these young children are no longer orphans, but individuals whose personalities are as vital, distinct, and beautiful as any mother's child. When that unique human being comes into focus, the connection is made and the red thread becomes visible. And once seen, the bond can never be broken. 'Mei Mei (Little Sister): Portraits From A Chinese Orphanage' by Richard Bowen, Introduction by Amy Tan, Afterword by Karin Evans, hardcover book with 144 pages.