Tuba City, AZ

By Aspen Johnson

OVERVIEW: I spent 7 days in Tuba City, Arizona on the Navajo/Hopi Indian Reservation in 2012 and another 7 days in 2013. Featured here are 3 pictures of the family I was staying with. While there, I bonded the most with Lucas. He was five years old in 2012 and still had trouble speaking. He had a large class at in school and didn’t get enough vocal interaction throughout his day. However, he is brilliant and became a guide for me in Tuba City. I would carry him around on my back and he would point to objects or people for me to photograph. In this way I got to see how he was seeing and what he wanted to show me. The first photo is of him, the next two were taken with him by my side_MG_3018

Pictured here are Lucas’s grandparents. They have lived on the reservation their whole lives. Some elderly folks wouldn’t let us take their picture. Lucas’s mother told me they believe each photo taken takes away a part of the soul.


Lucas’s brother chews food, taking a quick break from playing video games with Mitchell, Lucas’s other brother. Mitchell is 21 and says playing video games is the best way for him to stay out of the trouble most of his friends are getting into these days. He alluded to alcohol, drugs, and girls. The shadow on the wall is Taylor’s, their mother, sweeping the floor in another part of the room.


Lucas rides his tricycle in front of their house. The object in the top right of the frame is a barrel attached to a spring that his father Evan has built. Evan was an accomplished bull rider and that is what this toy simulates. The shadow in the bottom left is their trampoline that I am standing on. The rest of the space around them is littered with broken toilets, old pipes, wires, and numerous other miscellaneous objects.


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