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Things Lost : David Johanson

Things Lost
Chromogenic prints from digital
Various dimensions
2007

When my grandmother died recently, a wonderful if odd assortment of things came to be in my possession. Among them: my grandfather’s worn hand tools, a silver serving plate, a 1968 announcement of my mother’s wedding engagement, a framed etching that had belonged to my great-grandfather, the Book of Common Prayer given to my mother at her confirmation. All was carefully wrapped in newsprint, and placed in my grandfather’s army footlocker, marked clearly in my grandmother’s handwriting for me.

The process of photographing these objects has been an attempt to understand part of my heritage and myself. I dig my fingernails into the leather-wrapped wooden mallet once firmly gripped by a grandfather who in my mind's eye I see grinning for a snapshot. I’m amused by the deliberate and self-conscious signature of my then-teenaged mother at the top of the dedication page. There is a contiguity that occurs when I hold these things in my hands, a physical touching. These objects are indexes of people I have lost -- physical tabs by which I can re-member those who are now absent, and whom I barely knew in the flesh.


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