A Great Man

The objects that a person values enough to keep around can tell more about them than a portrait. Objects can act as a tangible way of looking into the past, whether through memory or through the discovery of something new. Particularly after a loss, they take on new significance and meaning. This project documents my grandfather’s identity through the objects that are left behind.

My grandfather was one of the most complicated people that I have ever known. He could be incredibly kind and generous, but he could also be self-centered, irresponsible, and self-destructive. Despite these negative aspects of him, we were always very close. Through this body of work, I am exploring who he was as a person, but more specifically who he was to me as my grandfather.

The images form a sort of chronology that primarily focuses on his later years. I am photographing a combination of found objects in his home and spaces such as his bedroom that help to describe who he was. There is a mix of staged and purely documentary style images. However, the majority of the staged scenes replicate a moment from memory. The pairing of an image of him and of his house is repeated throughout the set to give the sense of the passage of time. For the first set it was important to use photographs that gave a feeling of history, so I chose to use images of him and the house from my childhood. 

I have always been drawn to themes of family and history in my work. This collection of images gives form to my experience of my grandfather. The process of sorting through his possessions, both the things that he used on a daily basis and the items that he had saved from as far back as his childhood, allowed me to gain a better understanding of who he was beyond just my grandfather.