Portfolios > If My House Caught Fire

If your house caught fire and you could only bring one family photograph when escaping, which one would it be?

We seldom think about why we take photographs. The vast-majority are taken to record positive memories, most often of significant people. I remember visiting a retirement community in Ellendale, North Dakota when I was an Artist-in-Residence there in 2007. Most retiree’s rooms resembled shrines to their existence. The walls were adorned with framed photographs of the significant people and events from their lives. Everything worth remembering was abbreviated to a dozen or so photographs.

Mindful of this, I began composing a project to celebrate the intimate association between photography and memory, and as catalyst to initiate story-telling. Requesting that only one photograph be selected, is difficult for some, but easy for others. Once an image was chosen, a portrait of the person holding the photograph is made. Subsequent their story is recorded, and then transcribed to accompany the image. The project is ongoing.

Susie Ewinger, Choteau, Montana
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Steve Odden, Chateau, Montana
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Sharalee Youngman, Oakes, North Dakota
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Rose Tanaka, Denver, Colorado
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Roberta Johnson, Ellendale, North Dakota
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Peggy Elgin, Denver, Colorado
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2017
John Wheelihan, Ellendale, North Dakota
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Duane Michals, (and Beau) New York, New York
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2017
Clo Sydnor, Denver, Colorado
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Betty Sheldon, Aberdeen, South Dakota
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2018
Ann Vacheron, Denver, Colorado
Archival digital photograph
24x26
2018
Alex Sweetman, Boulder, Colorado
Archival digital photograph
24x36
2019