The Long Way Home


38 Years Ago
July 22, 2011, 6:38 AM
Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: , , ,

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Check out my groovy parents at Kennywood, 1973. Twenty-one years-old and not yet married. They  had no idea that less than a year later, they’d have a daughter. They had no idea as my mother sat on my father’s lap in the booth, waiting for the camera to flash, that they would have my sister four years later, that their marriage would fall apart in seven years. They didn’t worry about growing old or if their love would last. For them, it was just this moment on film, in a tiny photo booth which no longer exists. I think about this when I look through our old photos because I remember very little about the four of us as a family. I think about how young they were, their disappointments and dreams.

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Lost and Found
February 21, 2011, 9:48 AM
Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: , , ,

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There aren’t going to be any fuzzy moments around the fire as my sister and I pour through my mother’s photo albums exchanging memories. It’s going to look more like the two of us sitting at my sister’s kitchen table, elbow-deep in mounds of photos tossed into boxes. Giant U-Haul boxes. After the 70s, it looks as if my mother gave up assembling the images of our lives into any kind of order. Her attachment to these photos has caused a few family arguments over the years, which in retrospect makes me laugh. My stepmother once brought an old photo album of my dad’s to my nephew’s birthday, and when my mother saw it, she grabbed it from my hands and ran out of the house with it to lock in her car. My uncle found his high school yearbook missing two pages; my mother had torn them out  for her albums. In cleaning her cedar chest, Jeff found stacks of them ‘like bricks of gold’ hidden underneath a pile of quilts. During the week that she died, my sister spent hours looking for that giant U-Haul box of photos, only to discover it a few weeks later in the office closet, bound in duct tape, “memories” scrawled across the top. In that box, I found a tiny blue leather photo album filled with photo booth pictures. There are no dates, but I’m guessing by her hair styles that they are from 1970-71. It was a challenge to re-assemble them in chronological order, and so  I gave up.  Looking through the photos, I wonder why, if they were so important to her, she treated them so poorly, why she wouldn’t share them with us, why she hid them away from the world. She may not have realized that she left me the gift of piecing together the fragments of her life through my own stories.

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Mystery in the Photo Booth
January 20, 2011, 6:02 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,

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Props: 1 magnifying glass, 1 Nancy Drew mystery, 1 sheet of corrugated paper, 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 wigs. It was difficult getting this batch at the Warhol Museum on Sunday with children running around. I’m sure they wondered why two adults were taping fake Christmas brick inside the photo  booth and why we were laughing so hard as we took turns jumping in and out of it to switch frames. And  they were terrified when Jeff came out from the last shot ; the one bowl-cropped wig makes him look eerily like Norman Bates dressed as Mother.

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Photo Booth Sunday
February 28, 2010, 12:58 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jeff and I spent this morning working on our photo booth project. We had 3 props which we smuggled into the Warhol Museum via our Pan Am flight bag: an old telephone; a bunch of plastic grapes; and a creepy clear mask that Jeff bought at a Halloween store for fifty cents. We orchestrated the photos from my journal notes. There are 10 seconds between each frame in a photo booth, so getting these shots was challenging at times. 

hanging on the telephone

 

contemplating a beard shave

 

ghostly grapes

 

We tried to recreate the photo of my parents in Niagara Falls. I think we did a pretty good job.

mock parents



Nostalgic Snow Meltdown: My Vintage Photo Collection Project

Snowbound most of the month and struck with cabin fever, I decided to start scanning my vintage photo collection and posting it for others to see. I could spend hours looking through vintage photos at flea markets and antique shops if Monster would let me — there is so much other “trash” to discover!

Strongbox Magazine is publishing an all-film issue this spring and the editor asked if Jeff and I would like to do a photo booth project. I’ve wanted to do a series of photo booth self-portraits, but brainstorming with Jeff has been so much more fun. I’ll post some of the pictures after we hit the Warhol photo booth this weekend. 

The following photo of my parents is one of my favorites. It’s from a photo booth in Niagara Falls, where they honeymooned in November 1973, 35 years almost to the exact date that Jeff and I went on our own honeymoon (there goes the freaky date connections again with my family – my sister’s anniversary is in November). I scanned it and left it as-is – speckled with dust, torn in half and tattered at the edges.  It makes me a bit sad, knowing they’d be divorced only a few years later. They are so young and for that moment, happy. 

1973




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