This little girl’s mother was slowmoving, quick to smile and trusting. When I asked to take pictures of her daughter, she just nodded agreeably and sat on a nearby porch to watch us. The little girl was a firecracker, filled with energy, wit and good humour, and I knew she would give me a lively image. This bothered me almost as much as it pleased me. Poor black people have too often been represented as somehow ennobled by their poverty and repression, somehow better able to reach deep and pull up reserves of joy and warmth found beneath the adversity in their lives. But poverty doesn’t work that way. The simple joys of the poor, unburdened by possessions and excessive ambition, are a guilty invention by the rest of us. I tried to constrain the representation of this girl’s joy by imprisoning her in straight lines of black and white and to present her as though she were overseen by the tall windows at her back.