purpose magazine issue 8

Issue #8 of purpose magazine was released on Tuesday and I'm very happy to have my work included in such a beautiful publication. Overall Tuesday was an emotional day due to the anticipation brought on by the election, the general nostalgia I always feel in the fall, a fervent and ultimately constructive conversation with my parents the day before--all of this led to me being high on the vulnerability scale, in a good way. Sometimes it's nice to feel everything right on the surface, and when the email about purpose arrived from editor Paul Demare I clicked on the link and was transported.

© Wilma Hurskainen

One set of images in particular really got me due to my frame of mind: It was Wilma Hurskainen's series "Growth," which recreates family photographs taken when she and her three younger sisters were little, staging present-day replicas. The images above spoke to me so much--of loss, of the passage of time, the grandfather no longer in the picture, the girls' feet now able to touch the floor. I thought about my own grandfather, and about my father's new role as grandfather to my children, and about how someday Edie and June will be young women--about how quickly they will no longer represent the small, sweet toddlers in Hurskainen's images but rather the grown women. They will move away from me, beyond me, changing imperceptibly from children to adults. "Growth" as a body of work has the potential to be gimmicky--instead it is anything but. It is tear-your-heart-out sad, and funny, and bittersweet.

I also found the inclusion of amateur astronomer François Debricon's images of space to be ingenious--they added an entirely new and welcome dimension to my viewing experience. We are all so small, the universe is so incomprehensibly enormous, and yet our individual relationships and our individual children are the singularly most important things within this vast unknown. Our pasts and how we remember our youth through our own children can create a microcosm of comfort within the often overwhelming mystery. Similarly, the images from the archives at The Musée Carnavalet toward the end of purpose point to history, and the vastness of time. All of the children in those photographs are now dead, have lived their lives and been all they will ever be, and there is something tragic in witnessing their ghosts, sitting on those benches.
© François Debricon
© Eugène Atget/Musée Carnavalet

On the flip side, Robert Knight's current portrait Evan (age 5) from the series "My boat is so Small" has the most touching specificity: crusts of bread placed on a shelf, next to a toy car. The beauty is in the details.

© Robert Knight

The theme of purpose #8 as a whole--its presentation, and the added layer of the evocative and emotional music paired with the images--creates a true sense of childhood, and by the end it had this viewer admittedly weeping. If ever I berate myself for toiling in isolation, wondering if I should stop creating and do something purportedly "useful" like joining the UN or volunteering at soup kitchens I'll remember what the artists in this magazine were able to provide for me, what insights into my own story of growing up and my relationship to my children were generated through such a moving, wonderful set of photographs.

Below are some of my other favorites:
© Todd Deutsch
© Alessandra Sanguinetti
© Robert Knight
© Evan Baden
© Thekla Ehling
© Joakim Eskildsen


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