To prepare for my current project, I started by taking a closer look at my own family slides. What I found were scores of pictures from family vacations, birthday parties and playing dress up. I soon realized, however, that although I had a strong connection to these images, they were not “good” photographs, making them only interesting to my family and myself. I then turned to eBay, where I perused thousands of individual slides from the 1950s to ‘70s, purchasing only those images that I found to be visually and emotionally compelling. Pairing these unrelated slides together allows me to be the director of my own Hitchcock movie – selecting individual scenes which, when combined with others, suggest a story line which is both evocative and cinematic.
The most prominent theme in these images is that of travel. Many of the characters are women venturing off on their own, whether it be to the desert or the mountains, leaving behind the expectations and responsibilities of what’s happening in the adjacent frame; both physically and emotionally. It’s uncertain, however, if they will ever get to where they are going, or even if they know where that place is. Ironically, even though I decided not to use my own family slides for this project, in the end, the individuals in these photographs reflect aspects of my own family dynamics, both past and present — which just goes to show, we are always close to home even if we are far away.
Liz Albert is a photographic artist who has exhibited her work in group shows throughout the United States since 1986, including The Photographic Resource Center, Danforth Museum, A.I.R. Gallery and Houston Center for Photography. She holds a BFA from the University of Michigan, an MFA in photography from Maryland Institute College of Art, and a post-baccalaureate in teaching from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Liz explores the theme of family in her work through different approaches, such as toy cameras and appropriated found imagery in the form of diptychs and installations. Currently she is working on a series, titled “Family Fictions”, in which she juxtaposes individual family slides bought on eBay to create a fictional narrative.
In addition to being a practicing artist, she has taught photography at The Winsor School, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, and Salem State College. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and lives with family in Belmont, Massachusetts.