AUNT DOT’S HOUSE

statement


I am an ironic formalist.  My photographs induce tension between presentation and subject matter.   These images use the structured visual language of formalism to investigate subjects that are beautiful, sentimental or comic.  The images in the Aunt Dot series encompass all three of these sensations. 


Aunt Dot was one of those “aunts” related through love and history rather than through blood.  She had been my grandmother’s best friend and neighbor and my siblings and I had known her our entire lives.  She had no children and we had become surrogate grandchildren of sorts. On our regular visits to her house, she served us store-bought sugar cookies and cold Coca Cola in glass bottles.  We happily devoured these offerings before wandering down the rickety stairs to the bay, high on sugar and caffeine, to skip stones and search for hermit crabs.  My mother and Aunt Dot would sit at the kitchen table, drinking instant coffee and chatting as they looked out over the water.  My regular trips to Aunt Dot’s continued until I left home for college.  They remain as some of my fondest memories of childhood.


My Aunt Dot died in 2006.  Shortly after her death, my mother, my sister and I went to her house to somehow say goodbye.  Aunt Dot’s house had been suspended in time.  All was as it had been the day she left for the hospital after suffering a stroke.  We wandered through the rooms of the house in stunned silence.  In an attempt to capture something lost, I created these photographs.