New Project: Echoes of My Grandmother

Class of '89, '91, '99, '04, and '09

Study for Class of ’89, ’91, ’99, ’04, and ’09 (2009) from the series Echoes of My Grandmother

My maternal grandmother is the only one of my biological grandparents still living. (I make the distinction because I’ve had many “surrogate” grandparents through my life, and some of them are still with us.) Having been born soon after the end of the first World War, she will, God willing, celebrate her 90th birthday this autumn.

I was very lucky to have grown up with all four of my biological grandparents as a steady presence in my life. I was 19 before the first one passed away, and for the first 24 years of my life, I never lived more than half a mile both of my mother’s parents. (The difference was that my grandfather died. Grandma still lives just up the road.)

With a true milestone in her life approaching, and in full understanding that my remaining time with her is limited, I have been wanting to do a project focusing on my grandmother for a while now. Special impetus has come from two recent experiences – seeing the beautiful work done by Kate Hutchinson in her series Irish Grandmother, and the loss by my best friend of his grandmother. (Also his maternal grandmother, and the last of his grandparents to pass away.)

So far this project is very conceptual in my mind, and I’m sure it will evolve as I go about creating the images. Today I began the process, and came away with only one image I was really happy with, the one at the top of this post. Beside the seat in which she spends most of her day, my grandmother keeps framed senior portraits of each of her five grandchildren. These used to be in the dining room, but after one of my cousins (second from the left) passed away in 2007, they moved to this table.

I will be doing more work on this project this evening and tomorrow, redoing several of the photos I attempted today. Since my website is still down (and I’m beginning to look for another provider), I will provide periodic updates here.

As always, I welcome comments and criticism. Oh, and since I know someone will ask… I graduated in 1999.

Update: I’ve changed the caption for the above photo to “Study of…” because I’ve decided to make a different edit for the final image. I’m also going back and forth between color or B&W for the series. One way or another, the photo above is a variation of the final image that will have the title “Class of ’89, ’91, ’99, ’04, and ’09.”

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~ by David Cupp on March 21, 2009.

2 Responses to “New Project: Echoes of My Grandmother”

  1. I really like this picture David. Getting a good portion of the comfy chair where your Grandmother sits shows how important grandchildren are, and family in general, to be in constant view. This kinda echos your desire to do this series, doesn’t it, because family is important to you.

  2. I am excited about this project. What a wonderful idea. To capture images of her life is a great way to keep her memory alive, and an ideal venue for future generations to get to know her. I’m so proud of you. I look forward to following your progress.

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