Object, Image and Times: 5 chapters

1) Five Years ago: My sister died on Thanksgiving day in Vermont. I went up to Montreal the next day to put my daughter on a plane home. She was confused by the great sadness of the adults, and excited by the cold and her new red hat. I took this picture. This picture was the last on a roll of the family around the turkey. I had one shot left when my sister stood up, announced her sudden headache and collapsed.

2) Four Years Ago: When my husband left me, one of the things he took was the baby pictures. He promised to dupe them but he never did. I had this one because I had carried it in my wallet. When I travelled, I would take it out of my wallet and lean it up against the lamp on the bedside table in the hotel.

3) One Year ago:I gave this picture to Lorie to scan at Dartmouth on Memorial Day. I liked that I had it with me, and that she wanted to use it, but later when I found it on the web, I felt curiously vulnerable that my private girl was everybody's now.

4) One Month Ago: My daughter came with me on a business trip to Europe. We were getting on a train when my wallet was stolen. I lost 4 credit cards and this photograph. When we completed our journey back to the capital, we learned that my mother had died that morning in North America. We flew there that night.

5) Now:Amongst my mother's things are stacks of manila envelopes, stuffed with photographs that have been sorted and labelled in handwriting that should not belong to a dead person. In the envelope with my daughter's name is a thick stack of her baby pictures. One of them is this one.

photograph and story submitted by Alison Nordstrom
during the exhibition
"Telling Our Own Stories: Florida's Family Photographs"
at The Southeast Museum of Photography
in Daytona Beach, Florida, June to September 1997

| Next Essay | On Photography Index | Museum Entrance |