ITALIAN SERIES     1995

I spent the summer of 1995 on the Italian coast, just north of the Cinque Terre visiting my sister and her
family. I was pregnant with my third child and my father had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I was devastated
by the impending loss and at the same time hopeful about the new life inside of me.

That summer, on a hill overlooking the Ligurian Sea, I made a body of work called the "Italian Series".  A set of conceptual portraits, my
children are arranged singly or in groups in the landscape, sometimes holding props.  I often photographed the kids with their eyes closed or covered or looking away.  I was thinking about of people going away or dying.  I included props indigenous to the landscape, large pine
cones, plastic bags full of seashells that my children had collected and pears from trees in the arbor.

The photographs are not about the kids.  They were simply models, or vehicles.  I incorporated their bodies and facial
expressions to convey my feelings.  I think I captured the stillness.  It was the hottest summer I can remember. The
stone walls in the garden were still hot to touch at 10 pm.

 

MY FATHER'S LANDS; REVISITED   1996

Six months after my father’s death, I revisit his native Greece. I am full of sadness and awe for a place that produced such a complex man.

With my husband and three children, the youngest named after the grandfather he never knew, I travel, hoping to find some clues as to
who he was.  In every corner I find evidence of him, even in the stones he did not tread. 

As a boy he herded flocks of sheep high into the hills where the air was cool and the grass plentiful.  Here there are dirt roads,
mountain terrain, olive trees in abundance and the beginning of the River Styx.  At night, he slept under the stars.

The family home sits high on the side of a mountain surrounded by trees.  It faces the Corinthian Sea.  The back view looks to the hills. 
That is where we look for truths his father taught him.  And my father taught me.

In front of the house sits an old fig tree.  It was large and obstructed his elderly mother’s view of the sparkling sea.  Every summer my father, her youngest and most distant son returned, to climb the branches and lovingly cut large portions away only to return the following summer to
begin the ritual anew.  The tree has now been sheared.  Lemon trees grow in the ‘kypo’.  We went back to see them yearly.  Periodically
there was a new one, young and fragile.

About twenty years ago a new cemetery replaced the small old bone yard where the markers are crumbling.  My grandfather, grandmother,
uncle and aunt were buried the same grave.  I always wondered where my father wanted to be laid to rest.  I never asked.  My mother
said his wish was to stay near his children.  Far from the place I first understood to be home.

Now my children wander among the stones, the crosses and the photographs of the dead.  They conjure up their own images of lost
ancestry. I wonder what they see. All souls must pass. How do we reconcile a difference of so many miles

 


BRAZIL SERIES   1997

MISCELLANEOUS      1996 -2000