Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I was recently asked why I began photographing Aunt Ruth. The answer requires a little history. My dad died when I was 3. Lucky for me that he was a professional photographer, leaving behind the history of what he saw. As long as I had his pictures, I had my dad.
Most of my childhood was spent in an attic crawl space pouring over his prints. I believed that photographs were magical. They kept people from leaving , so it is no wonder that I picked up a camera, a Brownie Starflash, and began photographing everyone in my life! Later, the camera meant a great deal more to me, but its basic premise, keeping people close to me has remained a big part of why I take pictures.
My eldest sister decided to move to another city to be close to her daughters and granddaughters, and because Aunt Ruth was the only member of my mother's family nearby, I reflexively picked up the camera. The magical thinking I had as a child, the desire to make certain Aunt Ruth didn't leave kicked into place. Of course, I believed that it was my adult wish for intimacy that had me ordering bricks of film, but I think it is that fear of loss that started this project.
It was that simple. Along the way, a story of my aunt's life wove itself into the photographs and in my heart which became pages in a book, Loving Aunt Ruth.
Aunt Ruth is with me in photos wherever I go and whatever I face, and in this process, I learned guideposts to aging that I need as an adult. Sometimes, the best moments with Aunt Ruth happened when I put the camera down.
It is my hope that our story resonates with you, because you have your own Aunt Ruth, are an Aunt Ruth to someone, or like me, want to become more like Aunt Ruth, something I would have missed without the hundreds of black-and-white photographs made at parties, holidays, and sleepovers.
Aunt Ruth and I end every phone conversation with, "I love you forever." You see, taking pictures worked!
the beautiful photo of Aunt Ruth and me was taken by the very talented www.elizabethglorioso.com