July 5th would have celebrated the 79th Birthday of my grandma. However, she died at 75 in 2005. I was very fortunate to know her for most of my life. She took care of me and my siblings quite a bit when I was little. Growing up we spent almost every major Holiday at her house. Thanksgiving and Fourth of July were among some of my fondest memories because it was one of the few times a year that I saw all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My grandma brought people together and brought joy into a room. She was a major inspiration in my life and a strong female role model.
My grandma became a world traveler in her later years in life and would tell us stories from all the places she traveled. She was also an avid amateur photographer. She documented every family event big or small and took photos on all her trips. She has over 100 albums filling 4 book cases with her trips alone. She inspired me to photograph and explore.
When my grandma passed away I was in art school. I was glad to be in an environment that allowed me to deal with the loss in a constructive way. At the time I was exploring themes of feminism, religion, and nostalgia. I did a project where I shaved my head in the desert, called Stripping Away (below). It was a way to deal with loss and also to strip away my identity. Buddhists monks shave their heads because they believe hair holds the ego as well as a sense of vanity and identity that is not helpful to spiritual growth. This was a way for me to cleanse myself of the identity I felt I had lost when she died.
Image by Sabine Linn
Below is a photo from childhood I found, sitting on my grandma's lap. I was probably around five years old. After she died, I went through many of her photo albums searching for comfort. When I saw this photo I felt a sense of peace. I did a projection of the image and stood in front of it, trying to physically place myself where the younger me once was. To me this represented that sense of nostalgia and longing for a time that seemed more ideal, yet will never occur again. When I saw the new image I cried, because it was as if the older me had momentarily been able to sit in my grandma's arms once again.
This is a photo of my grandmother when she was about nineteen. Quite the vixen.
Below is a photo I took of my grandma on one of her last birthdays. I think she was turning 73 here. I wish I had taken one in color because she had the most beautiful bubble gum pink silk dress on. My grandma had amazing style, and collected clothes from all over the world.
I love you grandma. Your memory lives on!