David Magnusson, ‘Miranda Heckert, 13 years & Jody Heckert. Yuma, Arizona’, Pictura Gallery

“When I first heard about the Purity Balls I imagined American fathers terrified of anything that might hurt their daughters or their families honor. But as I learnt more, I understood that the fathers, like all parents, simply wanted to protect the ones that they love – in the best way they know how. It was also often the girls themselves that had taken the initiative to attend the balls. They had made their decisions out of their own conviction and faith, in many cases with fathers who didn’t know what a Purity Ball was before first being invited by their daughters.
The more I learned, the more I was surprised that I had been so quick to judge people I knew so little about. I was struck by the idea that what set us apart wasn’t anything more than how we had been influenced by the culture we grew up in and the values it had instilled in us. In Purity I wanted to create portraits so beautiful that the girls and their fathers could be proud of the pictures in the same way they are proud of their decisions – while someone from a different background might see an entirely different story in the very same photographs.
To me, Purity is about how we are shaped by the society in which we grow up and how we interpret the world through the values we incorporate as our own.”

  • David Magnusson

Purity means staying abstinent and having a special relationship
with your spouse when you get married. Because you’ll
both be each other’s first, you won’t have to worry about anything
else. You can just be you two. I want my future spouse to
be a man of God as well, I want him to have the same beliefs
that I do. And I want him to love me for me.
Being at the Purity Ball with my father was very emotional,
especially when they were having us make our commitments.
Being able to make that promise to him and to God and to
everybody else was just very touching, and it was awesome.
The relationship between us changed, because it really means
a lot to me to know that I can trust him with my promise,
knowing that he supported me and helped me make these
My commitments to Miranda are to make sure that the bad
guys out there keep their distance. I know not all guys are bad,
but most men in my thoughts are after one thing, and that’s
to have sex with anybody and everybody as often as they can.
I’m trying to tell her I know what boys think, because that was
me back then. I don’t want her name to be plastered all over
the school locker room like some of the girls I knew when
I was growing up.
It was breathtaking to see Miranda at the Purity Ball, at
the young age that she is, taking those steps to follow God’s
word in being in the light following his path. There are a lot
of girls getting pregnant at her age, and I’m glad that she has
that inner soul to know right from wrong. We are doing the
right thing with her, showing her that God is the real way of
life and teaching her to follow in His footsteps.
Myself, before I got married, I didn’t know God. I didn’t
follow in His path when I was Miranda’s age and as a young
marine I did a lot of crazy and stupid things. I don’t want her
to go that way. That’s why I’m taking the steps through the
word of God to keep her safe.

About David Magnusson