Family Portraits II
set of found-photo books, 2018
INTRO. My great-grandparents were masters of the art of family photos. My great-grandfather Sid carried a camera with him everywhere, documenting the life he lived with my great-grandmother, Lil. When Lil passed away a few years ago, my family members uncovered a massive collection of photos from her apartment, which my sister then scanned and archived digitally. I have always been fascinated by my family history, and decided to use the photographs left behind to try to understand the relatives I never really knew. In this series of books, I have organized these found images thematically in order to learn about and interpret the lives of those who came before me.
CARE. Lil & Sid’s two daughters, Marilyn and Andrea, were born in 1942 and 1948, respectively. Lil & Marilyn lived in a small apartment in The Bronx while Syd was stationed in Hawaii. When Andrea was born, the family of four moved to Far Rockaway in Queens. In the early 1960s, they moved again, this time to Manhattan. The family spent most of their vacations in the Catskill Mountains, a popular weekend getaway for Jewish families in the mid-twentieth century.
DRESS. Lil & Sid both worked in the garment business. Lil co-owned a dress shop with her friend Claire in Long Island, which they eponymously named “Lilli-Claire.” Sid also had his own business- a men’s suit shop called Marty Walker Clothiers in Manhattan. Dressing well wasn’t just a hobby for the couple, but a way of life. They dressed up in clothing from their businesses during vacations, with friends, and on the job. Looking bad simply wasn’t an option.
SWIM. When the kids were older, Lil & Sid spent a lot of their leisure time on the water. When Sid’s business became very successful, they had the means to travel via cruise ship. The pair often travelled around the Caribbean, but also visited destinations such as Greece, Italy, and Israel. On these trips, they got some sun, spent time with friends, and of course showed off their poolside fashion.