Northwoods Journals
Project info

"Northwoods Journals" -

I must have been ten or eleven years old when I first ran across the peculiar envelope that bore my grandmother’s shaky handwriting: “not to be opened until my death.” Tucked in her top dresser drawer amidst other valuables, its striking phrase burned into my memory at a young age. I don’t know exactly when, and I don’t know how often, but I know I visited the envelope numerous times, pondering what could be inside. What could be so important (or tragic) that it must be kept secret in this way?

I have never been able to shake the hold that piece of paper had over me. More than just a letter—I was haunted by what it represented. Loaded with latent meaning, yet withholding its story, the letter is my experience of growing up in Minnesota. This project is a journey to piece together a disconnected family narrative that is marked by secrets, weathered by seasons, colored with dark humor, and haunted by death. The work forms a lyrical and strange family album, a collection of photographs that speak to the merger of myth and memory that only grows more complex as time passes.