Yesterday my friend Andrew and I were in his innovative home studio shooting some photographs for a series he’s working on. I was wearing a mask for the shoot. When we were done, it seemed like a waste to not take a few “unmasked” photos when the light and background were all set up.
I was reluctant to post this image today, not because of the quality of the image. Nice work Andrew. But why? I think perhaps the “why” is; the veins/age spots on my hands, the wrinkles around my eyes and my grey roots awaiting a touch up (tomorrow). However, while looking more closely I don’t only see those things. I see that I’m wearing my favorite “uniform” of paint splattered khakis, a tank top and a cowboy shirt I’ve had and loved for twenty years. Around my neck is a pendant my daughter, Willa made for me in her metals class. I’m really relaxed. Down the road I wholeheartedly believe I’ll be grateful to have this portrait. Thanks Andrew.
Today I printed it at the #BCA studios on Pine Street in Burlington (thanks Renee). I plan to write some details on the back so my grandkids or great grandkids will possess some information about me and who I was in March of 2018.
Don’t shy from the camera folks. You’re going to want photographs of yourself. Get your favorite ones printed. Only having digital images is so different than actually holding a print in your hand—get multiples & share them broadly.
Lowell Louis Lillilbridge, Burke High School Graduation photo taken 1927. He was a young man way ahead of his time coming from a small town in South Dakota. I don’t think this was the graduation photograph that his father and stepmother particularly liked-it was perhaps even a bit scandalous in the day. Lowell (known as Louis) was graduating a year early and heading off to The University of Chicago to begin his studies. He had a remarkably keen intellect and was the most generous man I’ve ever known, both with his resources and spirit.
Lately, Grandpa has been visiting me in both my dreams and my waking life. I often ask him what to do when I have challenges in my life. I promise I am not going to get too (new age-y) here, I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about how much our ancestral knowledge plays a huge role in who we are and how we navigate the world. Grandpa died July 24th, 1986. I was 19 years old then and my sorrow when he died was felt into my bone marrow. Now as a 48 year old woman my access to him is much better understood. He’s a part of me physically (deep set Lillibridge eyes and a decent inseam) and in my spirit. In my dream last night he told me to “keep going and push harder”. I can interpret this a lot of ways right now in my life and I am going to pay attention. Thank you Grandpa for all that you’ve instilled in me. I am eternally grateful and I am listening.
A portrait of my Grandfather done by Linda Frasch in the late 1970s I would guess. My Mom just sent me this painting for my birthday. I have always loved it because of the style. It very much reminds me of the New Yorker artist Maira Kalman whom I adore.
Maira Kalman illustration from her 2012 book: And the Pursuit of Happiness