This series of photographs is part of an ongoing project that I am working on about my paternal family and the duality of the tender and traumatic experiences that I have had within it. These particular photographs serve as a memorial to my great-grandmother, Illah Brown, and to the home she made in a small town in southwest Iowa. Each photograph was made in the house that Illah has lived in since 1973 and that has also been the only constant structure in my own life. I made these photographs as I was about to graduate from college and begin my adult life; a time when the life of my great-grandmother nears its end.
My goal for this project is to make a series of photographs that work as an anti-family album of sorts - photographs that do not work as snapshots and are at times too awkward, cool, or lonely to make it into a book of memories. It is a contemporary ode to the traditional American family album as we redefine family units and roles, methods of distributing family photographs, and even what is constituted as a photograph-worthy event or moment.
I want these photographs to show how my family’s collective memory is filtered through the feelings that these spaces have acquired over the last 44 years. These images capture moments of both warmth and happiness as well as darkness and sadness. These are a visual representation of the 20th century American family structure as I have experienced it.