(Above: Nameless People and Forgotten Faces, one of two title pages. Altered, vintage photo album using anonymous family snapshots and letters clipped from old magazines and sheet music. Shut: 7 1/4" x 10 1/4" x 1". Click on any image to enlarge.)
(Above: Nameless People and Forgotten Faces, from top to bottom and left to right: cover, first title page, second title page, and written preface.)
There's an antique mall on the next block from my art residency studio space here in Fergus Falls. I bought several things there ... including two, never used, vintage photo albums. I tried to settle on a simple title for this one. I had two in mind. So, I used both and spread it over the first two pages: Nameless People and Forgotten Faces.
The next page reads: This is a book of fiction. Once Upon a Time, each character had a name. They got forgotten. This is a story told the second time. With this altered book, I expressed my own questions when confronted by so many unknown portraits. Who were these people? What would they say about my work? How should I introduce them as art? Well, I'm guessing that if given the chance to speak, these people would all start by saying, "My name is ...." So, why shouldn't I give them names? I googled "most popular names ever in America" and found all sorts of lists. I used THIS ONE. It is admittedly not a stickler for precise statistics but that isn't the goal for my book. (Susan is #8 on this list but I didn't use it in the book!) I liked more of my "girl" images and thus used more of them. What is important is the suggestion that all these faces actually did have real names ... once upon a time.
Many vintage photo albums have pages that are held in place with a cord. These can be taken apart, altered, and put back together again. Unfortunately, these two were had pages bound to the spine. I had to either 1) collage one page at a time and wait for each to dry or ...
2) figure out how I might rig up a system for multiple pages to dry at the same time. Naturally, I went with the second option. While collaging five pages, I could manage to keep them apart well enough to prevent the matte medium from adhering to the reverse of the former page ... and then I used clothes pins tied to various places under my studio table. Five pages were done in the morning, the afternoon, and in the evening before returning to my provided apartment.
Nameless People and Forgotten Faces had a a couple fewer pages than the other album. It sat under a bag of sand (weight) last night. Right now, the other book is under the sand. I'll share it tomorrow.
Of course I'm not sitting around watching photo album pages dry! I'm working. Over the past few days I constructed and stitched six new, small In Box Series pieces. They will be melted, mounted, and framed after I've returned home. Below are all the pages in Nameless People and Forgotten Faces. Enjoy!