Photographer Shelley Calton grew up in Houston, Texas and was raised by a father who owned guns for both hunting and self-defense. She and her two sisters all learned to shoot firearms from a young age.
This background is something Calton shares with the subjects of her project “Concealed“. It’s a series of portraits that looks into the lives of women who arm themselves.
Calton writes that, in doing this project from 2011 through 2014, she “sought to more deeply understand [the women’s] collective experiences as concealed carriers.” Although guns had largely disappeared from her life after becoming an adult, Calton decided to identify with her subjects by getting trained and becoming a licensed gun carrier.
The women seen in “Concealed” come from different backgrounds. Some are young and raising families; others are older with empty nests. Some own their guns quietly for self defense; others collect them and strap the firearms proudly to their outfits with holsters.
Concealed depicts the private and previously unseen lives of women who arm themselves. They come from diverse backgrounds, each with their own individual story and personal motivations. […] My photographs showcase the diversity of this population. However, I found a commonality in their response to the question “are you prepared to pull the trigger to protect yourself or your loved ones?” The answer from the women in this collection of portraits is a resounding “yes.”
Here are some of the portraits found in the project:
You can view the entire project on Carlton’s website here.
Image credits: Photographs by Shelley Calton and used with permission