The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
May 2016 back issue
The Life and Times of Strider Wolf Pulitzer Prize 2016 Winner in Feature Photography
by Jessica Rinaldi (introduction by Brian McGrory, Editor, The Boston Globe)
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Strider Wolf was born poor in a poor part of rural Maine. When he was two, his mother’s raging boyfriend beat him nearly to death. At three, the state placed him and his younger brother in the custody of their grandparents, Larry and Lanette, who were already tired and barely piecing together an existence with odd jobs and whatever money they could make selling junk. In the spring of 2015, when Strider was five, Larry and Lanette were evicted from the cluttered mobile home where they lived. They set out with the boys, adrift in an old camper with no means or ability to find a new place to live. In the chaos and deprivation, Strider had a simple and abiding wish: to be loved. It was his preoccupation and his deepest need. Through Jessica Rinaldi’s photography in The life and times of Strider Wolf, we watch him try to win it from Larry and Lanette as they lead the family on an odyssey with no clear end, talking their way into campgrounds and parking lots, trying to survive, and hoping for a place to call home. Through Rinaldi’s patient and compassionate photography, we are brought to witness the ugliness and complexity of their world and see it as a trap woven by generations. Strider’s quest is our hope – for him and for his grandparents. We root for the humanity we see in his eyes and sideways grin, and hope that he might be the one, at last, who has the stuff to break free. The finely observed detail that informs this story, its sense of place, and character were hard won. Rinaldi and writer Sarah Schweitzer worked hand in hand for more than five months, much of it spent winning and maintaining the trust of people not inclined to give it. They traveled over and again to Oxford, Maine, staying nights in town, joining the family shortly after dawn when they woke and staying most days until they went to bed. They worked their way close, respectfully, to see Strider’s world clearly and plainly. Immediately after the story ran came an outpouring of money and gifts and well-wishes for Strider and his grandparents. The story circulated widely, picked for best-of lists across the internet and sparking numerous charity efforts. A GoFundMe campaign raised nearly $20,000. A trust set up for the family raised tens of thousands more. Local bloggers took up the family’s cause. Larry and Lanette, thankful as they were for the generosity, told Rinaldi and Schweitzer that they were blessed also that someone had simply taken the time to notice them. Of course, in its broadest meaning, this story is about more than one family. It is a devastating and uniquely revealing portrait of poverty and the power of trauma to transcend generations. It is also, ultimately, a beautiful, complex and painful story about the yearnings of the human spirit.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE Strider Wolf reaches up to grab high on a sapling revealing a scar on his stomach from a feeding tube as a result from his childhood abuse.  During the course of an eviction last summer, the family bounced from campground to campground, trying to find a permanent home.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE After two years of not paying the rent the Grant's landlord gave them 30 days to pack their things and leave.  On the night of the eviction Strider's grandparents, Lanette and Larry, move their possessions into a storage space leaving Strider and Gallagher unattended in the back of the car. Tired and acting out, Gallagher bites Strider who recoils, pressing his body against the car window.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE On the night of the eviction, Lanette and her son's fiance, Ashly, take a break from packing up the family's belongings. As the night goes on it becomes clear that they are not going to be able to take all of their possessions with them.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE After moving into a campground, Strider struggles as he carries gallons of water filled from a spigot to the camper. Lanette will heat the water on a small stove to do the dishes and bathe the boys with a washcloth.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE Strider looks for Lanette with a flower behind his back to apologize after she yelled at him for wetting the bed. His therapist has explained that his bed-wetting is a response to trauma, either the unfolding upset in their lives, or some resurrecting memory. Lanette knows this, but their living situation is starting to take a toll on her patience.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE Lanette and Strider share a carefree moment as the afternoon sun breaks through the trees. Lanette often laments that she and Larry aren't able to be grandparents to Strider and Gallagher because they have to play the role of Mom and Dad, enforcing rules and making sure they are provided for.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE Having moved into their fourth campground of the summer, Gallagher sits in the center of a circle that his brother, Strider, has etched around him in the dirt. According to the state, living in a campground means they no longer have a house payment, because of this, their food stamps have been cut by a hundred dollars.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE Often left to their own devices, Strider and Gallagher played on an abandoned Ford at twilight. Strider holds a broken automotive hose to his eyes like a pair of binoculars and asks, "What's on the moon?"
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE During Strider's sixth birthday party, Lanette and her mother make the 15 minute drive to Walmart to pick up his cake. Having been gone over two hours,  a disappointed Strider sits beside Larry and waits for them to return to begin his party.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE During this unsettling time for the family, Strider wanders into his old bedroom and looks around at many of his belongings that will not make the next move and will be left behind.
JESSICA RINALDI/THE BOSTON GLOBE On the first morning, Strider plays in the backyard of his new home, an old rectory in Lisbon, Maine. The yard was fenced and tucked into a neighborhood, so different from the woods he called home.
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