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Life : Michael Mauney - Sex Education
Sex Education, Cedarburg, Wisconsin © 1969 Michael Mauney
My Life story was very brief. I was real easy on my expense account, so it was not my fault that the magazine went out of business. I had just been asked to be the photographer in London, and I was more upset about not getting to take my family there for two or three years than I was about the magazine folding. I was upset about the wrong thing.
As a photographer, I'm an observer. What I'm looking for is for people to react. I did a story on a battle against sex education in the town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. I ended up at a Sunday night vespers service for teenagers. The light was bad, and there were only 12 teenagers in this church. The minister was saying, “You've got to decide what's right and what's wrong. The church says, ’This is what's right,’ but you have to decide.” I walked around behind him and started shooting the teenagers’ faces, and there's one nice frame of a guy—he looks like a high school ballplayer—looking at his girlfriend. She’s looking at him. The moment just says that in the end people have to decide for themselves. The teenagers of Cedarburg, in their wisdom, are working it out in their own way. Everything was implied in these two kids’ expressions, and it was really a sweet, gentle picture. And it was wonderfully used, spread over two pages. That was absolutely my favorite picture that ever got in a magazine. Do you remember the picture? Go look it up, and tell me if I overplayed it. I think you’ll find it's just exactly what I said.
(Interviewed on October 26, 1996.. Excerpted from: John Loengard, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, Boston, A Bullfinch Press Book, 1998)