A few months after my mother passed away, I started going through the hundreds of slides my parents kept in the hall closet on a shelf next to a very old slide projector. The slide projector was broken, parts no longer available, so I held each slide up to the light, and studied them one by one.
I spent several days gazing at the brightly colored renditions of my family’s vacations to Disneyland, trips to Pike’s Peak, Europe, nearby lakes, the beach and countless birthday parties, graduations and Chanukah celebrations. I clearly remember that “slide” camera. It was a special camera because the resulting pictures never failed to call for a gathering of the extended family. The screen was hauled out of the basement, hoisted into the air with a flourish, then positioned just so in order that we could all see the “show.” My family was democratic when it came to using the “slide” camera; it was generously passed around. I know for a fact that these pictures were taken by each and every one of the six members of my family.
Around the same time that I began looking at these vibrant and nostalgic images, my eighty-five year old father asked me to start shredding his personal papers. I spent hours shredding. The rhythm and the noise of the shredder kept me alert, but the process itself became monotonous. At some point, I realized the seriousness and sadness of the whole project and the grim future it was predicting. In a state of panic, I found myself trying to piece some of the shreds back together, in a sense, to ward off the inevitable outcome – the death of my other parent and the end of my family as I had always known it.
The convergence of my family’s old pictures and the process of shredding resulted in this body of work. As I re-framed these images, then shredded and re-assembled them, I carefully examined and pieced together my memories, and, in a way, crafted my own reality.