If the generations of women who came before me are the thread that runs through this project, Elizabeth Kilroy, Chair, New Media Narratives, International Center of Photography is the needle. I am thankful to have had her at the helm and for belief that I could become a storyteller using images.
I am grateful to ICP instructors who gave hours of their time and imparted their wisdom and experiences, João Pina and Fred Ritchin for opening my eyes to the photographer's relationship to her image, Darin Mickey for challenging me more than anyone, Frank Franca on light, shadow, film noir and the not so obvious need to be sure fabric backgrounds are without wrinkles, Rodrigo de Benito Sanz, Rich Harris and Lam Thuy Vo for coding, design and data visualization, Jacques Menasche and Elizabeth Spears in narrative writing, Phil Bicker in honesty, craft and presentation, Robert Blake, Stephanie Dworkin, Edward Ratliff, Anya Hitzenberger and Bob Sacha in storytelling and sequencing, and Santiago Lyon in editing and mentoring.
Among the 70 students from 24 countries, thank you all! The chance to be part of an international community of students and faculty was more enriching than I ever could have imagined. I am thankful to NMN16 classmates Cyndie Burkhardt, Mengwen Cao, Daphne Chan, Evan Cisneros, Caitlin Healy, Muyi Xiao with Miles Goscha and Alex Taylor - by extension- whose suggestions and unwavering support helped me mightily. Similarly, I am indebted to Natalie Giuo, Igor Morales, Pedro Pedreira and Ricardo Pereira Ribeiro who lent their voices to my own. I cherish their input more than they will ever know.
Soumita Bhattacharya, Isabelle Dervaux, Alex Golshani, Elise Jacob and Fabiana Sala showed me how to use a camera, to trust my eye. And to the people who allowed me to photograph them inside or outside the studio, Sophie Sawyers, Kathryn Grace Kaelin, Nora Sheeder, Haley Stevens, Ruthie Lewis, AJ, Amy Myrin, thank you.
Photographers Josh Lutz, Nancy Borowick and Philip Toledano inspired me from the beginning. Meeting Josh and Nancy was further justification for sharing the story of love lost, and then there's the weird Chappaqua connection Josh, Nancy and I all share.
The project lives physically at ICP through August 7, 2016, thanks to Education Facilities Manager Maya White and Chase and to Lendita and Bart for the tricorner shelf.
Moral support from my friends Abby Adams, Elizabeth Easton, Edwards, Mary Ester, Debby Corper, Hope Hutman, Cindy Nathanson Rust, and historical references from my parents' friends Tante Gail Keane, Ann Smith, Mickey Poland, Sandy Sonneborn, George Abrams, Joe Novak and Marilyn Roos and Nashvillian Carolyn Tune, is truly appreciated.
Finding the letter and all that surrounds it allowed me to get to know my mother. Without her, we know, I wouldn't be here. But moreso, it taught me to be empathic to a time and place that is not my own. To Sally and Sid, I wish you were alive to know your grandchildren. To my siblings, Karen and Rob, and extended family that is the Sawyers, Tripletts and Edwards, thank you for being the people you are.
I am grateful to my immediate family for supporting me throughout this endeavor. My children, Sophie, 22, and Sam, 18, are wise beyond their years. They listened (patiently most of the time) to my stories and with their editors' eyes and ears were often able to synthesize or improve what it was I was trying to communicate. And to my husband Charles. He is the fabric that envelopes us all, that reminds us we are a team and that life can be very good. His presence is a constant reminder to be true, true to yourself, to be honest in the world. This is what the letterproject aims to be. The truth. Thank each of you for believing in this endeavor. sSs
Audio serves as notes to self... the giant leap from a pile of pictures to a semblance of a story. whew. and thank you.