It all started with a camera.
For a reason unknown to me, my dad started picking up a camera when he was a 15 year-old in Brooklyn, NY. He took thousands of photos and slides, some developed in a makeshift darkroom in my parents’ first apartment together in Evanston, IL. By the time I was born, in 1980, my dad had a collection of negatives and slides in a big box somewhere in our house. He documented my childhood as if he knew that some day, all I’d have were those memories of my parents. Photos of my childhood spill out of plastic containers in my NJ storage space.
At some point during my first 5 or 6 years, my parents got me a blue, Fisher Price 110 camera. I can picture it in my hands, the black grip a perfect size for my little fingers.
In high school, I made a hobby of snapping photos of bands that I would see play and during my first year in college, a friend took me into a darkroom and showed me how to print.
Since then, in 1999, I’ve spent the greater part of the past 10 years taking my own black and white photos and developing them in a community darkroom in Oakland, CA, where I live. My subjects are workers, people in their unique places, cityscapes, and the ironic pieces of life that we all pass by every day. I have my own collection of snapshots of my friends who are my family and I’ve slowly learned to adopt the Holga and digital cameras as useful tools in my arsenal of documentation.
History As The Present
I lost my mom and my childhood when I was 10. In 2000, when I was 19, my dad was killed in a car accident. At some point over the past few years, I decided that it was important for me to take his slides and negatives of my family history and scan them to archive them for posterity. After all, they are my history, my family’s story that I must continue to tell.
This father/daughter project is the on-going result of that desire. I want them on the internet, in cafes. I want the super 8 videos that my dad took up on the web.
In the photos on this site, you'll see: my mom, Mona Silverman, dad; Gerald Silverman, my dad's parents Saul and Gladys, my mom's parents Jack and Eva (who I was named after), my great aunt Rose who married Jack after Eva died, and my dad's brother (my uncle) Allan.
The pictures were mostly taken in Brooklyn (Flatbush and Bensonhurst), Evanston and Chicago Illinois (while my dad was in graduate school), and New Jersey (Monmouth County and Bergen County).
I want people to appreciate the period shots and the stories of two immigrant families coming together in the ‘wilds’ of Flatbush and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
In March of 2010, I had a solo art show that included 300 of my dad's images as well as a number of my own. The images were projected on a giant wall-sized window and was seen from inside as well as out. The show was called 'Preservation and Change: Graphic Design and Photography from Brooklyn to the Bay". You can see the postcard that I designed for it here, watch the video here or check out photos from the event here.