Taking us on a journey through New York City’s streets and parks, this poignant nanny photo series documents a scene that has become part of the urban landscape of the Upper West Side.
In the nanny photo series ‘Substitutes,' photographer Ellen Jacob portrays the women of color who take care of privileged Caucasian children living in West Side Manhattan neighborhoods. Through her series we take notice of how race and color affect the role of nannies, even though we tend not to notice it on a daily basis. By exploring the series visually, we are able to see what Jacob is trying to show when it comes to the relationship between race, nannies and employers.
The visual narrative shows the nannies as maternal figures and how they lovingly bond with the children entrusted to their care—which unfortunately earns them low wages.