I grew up in a family that most would consider very non-traditional. I was raised by my mother and my grandmother. When I spoke about them as a child I always referred to them as "my parents". That always felt completely normal to me, though constantly caused moments of confusion when I referred to them this way to others.
When I was 22 years old my mother passed away suddenly and as one would suspect it was very difficult to deal with. My grandmother had lost a daughter, I had lost my mother, and in our grief we came together. She and I developed an immensely strong bond over the next 10 years before I ultimately lost her as well in 2010 just two months shy of her 91st birthday.
When my mother was alive I was always asking "can we take a family portrait of the three of us?" to which I received the response "Next year, let us lose a few pounds". This was always the reply and quite frustrating to me. I asked often but their negative self-image stopped them from ever going forward. I wish I could go back and tell them both that I didn’t care if they were a few pounds overweight, or their hair or skin wasn't perfect, because what happened is they passed away and left me with nearly no photographs. The only family portrait that exists is this one from 1978 and I was a just a newborn baby.
My relationship with my grandmother was much closer than the relationship I had with my mother since we had 10 more years together. She truly became my best friend. In honor of that bond, I am creating an exhibition and encouraging others to not take for granted the relationships you still have with your own grandparents. While you're young you feel like your grandparents will be with you forever, but the reality is that in most cases you will lose them earlier in life than you expect. If you are one of the lucky ones to have them even longer, then you probably now realize how amazing and special those relationships can be. Please join me as one of the fifteen families I will feature in my exhibition in May. We will turn the studio into a gallery for the evening. Beautiful large portraits of all the families and their stories alongside them will be on display. Details of the event are in the works and will be released soon. I am beyond excited to be creating and presenting legacy portraits (grandparents and generations) that not only have special meaning for me personally but will be cherished and appreciated by your families and future generations to come.