My First Wife Stella (2013) is a still and moving image project that came about from the discovery of Kodachrome slide pictures that my father shot along Route 1 in 1967 with his first wife Stella. I retraced the route they took together, hoping to stand in the same places they had been 45 years prior. Stella died before I was born, but by following in their footsteps, I sought to settle the anxiety I had over losing someone I had never actually met. I was interested in seeing how the landscape had aged and if it was possible to sense Stella’s presence by absorbing the sites in front of me. Like my father, Stella was a holocaust survivor who had been traumatized by her experiences in the camps. One of the driving forces behind their trip was the hope that the landscape might have a therapeutic effect on her. I planned my destinations around the slide images, using them as if they were markers on a map. While there are no formal monuments in the photos, I treated each picture as a postcard commemorating a site. The film component of this duel photo and video project documents the relationship I have with my father and addresses the imaginative nature of photography, as well as its limitations.
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