My Mother's Clothes: An Album of Memories -- a unique photo - essay in which Jeannette Montgomery Barron captures her mother's personality through a series of stylized photographs, with just the merest of annotations. Although the text is spare, by the end of the book, the reader / viewer has absorbed pretty much the entire life story of Barron's mother, Eleanor Morgan Montgomery Atuk (1922 - 2007).
I purchased a copy of this book just out of curiosity, about six months ago, and all of a sudden it seemed like the perfect gift for several of my closest friends -- Beata, who had just been to Poland to sort out a lifetime of treasured outfits with her mother; Vickie, who adores style and fashion research; and especially Katy, who had so generously shared with me many items from her late mother's collection of shoes and blazers.
While thumbing through the pages of My Mother's Clothes before wrapping Katy's Christmas presents, I had one of those inspirational Eureka Moments -- "Hey, I could do that!" Of course, I still felt that Barron's book was the right present for Katy, but even better would be a series of photographs -- taken by me! -- featuring the beautiful clothes and shoes that I had inherited from her mom.
Energized by the successful effect of Barron's project, I couldn't wait to begin my own! I went to work immediately, racing around creating fashion vignettes in every room of the house. With the help of Vistaprint, I compiled my results into a stunning (if I do say so myself!) calendar so that Katy too will have an "album of memories" in honor of her mother, Mona O'Malley.
It also dawned on me that I should order some additional copies of the keepsake calender for a few others who would appreciate the concept. I was intrigued by my friend Megan's observation, upon receiving her copy, that
. . . although the photographs were "personless . . . they seemed soooo personal."Yes! Exactly what I (and I believe Barron also) had hoped to achieve!
My sister - in - law Tina,
modeling one of Mona's classic holiday sweaters!
Uncle Al & Auntie Tee ~ Halloween 2011