Father Figures

June 1, 2008
Dear Father: Exhibition materials include excerpts of correspondence between fathers and family members.Kivia says "Dear Father, Look I know how to fly."
Dear Father: Exhibition materials include excerpts of correspondence between fathers and family members. Wilson, top, writes, "Dear Children, Júlia, you are so precious. Oh Vito, come here! Do you love Daddy? Daddy loves you. And you, too, Brenda. I love you all very much." Kivia, above, says, "Dear Father, Look I know how to fly."
Photos by Emma Raynes

Brazilian sugar-cane cutters spend up to ten months of the year living far from their families, cutting eight to ten tons of sugar cane a day for $1.35 per hour.

In an exhibit at Duke's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, photographs by Emma Raynes document efforts to strengthen connections between forty cane cutters and their families through photography, correspondence, and recorded dialogue. The exhibit, "Pai, Estou Te Esperando/ Father, I Am Waiting for You," is on display through the end of July.

Raynes is a 2007 Lewis Hines Fellow with the Center for Documentary Studies. She has worked with the nonprofit Centro Popular de Cultura e Desenvolvimento in Araçuaí, Brazil. In this drought-plagued region known as the Valley of Misery, nearly 20 percent of the workforce leaves in the spring to work as sugar-cane cutters.