When I was young I spent hours pouring over family photo albums. I recreated the same when my own family was young. At one point trading my then slr (notice no “d”) camera for a top of the line point and shoot that would fit in with the diaper bag! Photos had presence and meaning in my life, and in my family’s too. This all became vividly evident a couple of months ago when my own mother became terminally ill and then passed within a couple of weeks in April. At the time I spent every hour with her, in the hospital, then at home. I, who normally had days packed to the hilt found myself absolutely present, with no agenda other than what my mother would want and need. I recorded photo, video and voice during a few brief periods when she recounted some of her own childhood memories and family stories. Then after her passing my eldest daughter and I again poured through family photos in an effort to distill her life into a slide show to play at a family celebration of her life. This slideshow evoked so much memory, emotion, and joy for everyone that attended. People watched it over and over, and, it of course made me aware of how this experience would have been so different if we had no photos, or if they had been lost in some way forever.
Yesterday I received a small envelope in the mailbox, containing some new photos of my mother, along with some extremely old shots of my great grandmother and her parents, my great-great grandparents. Allessandro and Eugenia Ferrera Catrano from Baio Dora Italy were people I never knew, and yet I can see myself in their faces and we are undeniably linked.
Photos shape our lives and create a mosaic and grounding that we may be unaware of as we can take for granted the access that we have to imagery, cameras, photography and photos. We at C4C believe that it is all too important and this is a strong element at the core of what we work towards.
This summer we are organizing some local workshops with partners here in Vancouver and we are also working towards creating new partners in Canada. We have not forgot the opportunities to work out in the bigger world and are setting our sights further afield again in 2014. We hope all of our supporters will continue to join us on these amazing journeys.
My Grandfather’s uncles as young men create a composite of my own grandfather’s face.
My Great Grandmother (Lidia in the black dress) with her parents in Italy, her own young face is reminiscent of my mother as a child and some of my own children too.
last but not least my own Mother, Faye Nelson (R) with her two cousins, Mary-Kay Stortini (L) and Jeff Pollack (C), Lidia was grandmother to all!