The ArtsZipper Blog

Travel the World in Kodachrome with Harry & Edna

As an avid thrifter, I am no stranger to sifting through bins and boxes of someone else's things.  I get giddy upon finding a treasure after hours of searching.  Although usually my hunt ends there.

Things were different for Jeff Phillips.  While visiting his parents in St. Charles, he bought a box of 1,100 photographs at an estate sale.  The collection ended up being mostly pictures of an older couple traveling the world in the 1950's.  The images made him smile, laugh, and struck up some serious curiosity.  He started a Facebook page called "Is This Your Mother?".  The idea behind it was this: if one image was posted on the page every day, how long would it take for someone to recognize their mother or father? 

It turns out that the couple had no children; but that is what makes this story so special.  As the "social media effect" spread, people commented under the photos with fictional accounts of the couple's exploits and reminisced over when they had vacationed in the very same places way back when.

Eventually, people started sending Jeff private messages with hints that they had noticed in the photos, such as a license plate number or hotel.  Jeff started to call them the search party.  Then, a mere three weeks into the hunt, a woman from Washington state emailed him with an answer.  Their names were Harry August Grossman and Edna Annette Lehr.  Edna died in 1983, and Harry passed away three years later.

"Lost and Found: The Search for Harry and Edna" is currently gracing the walls of the Foundry Art Centre.  I attended the exhibit and artist talk last weekend and was intrigued the entire time.  Although the funky images and captions displayed alongside are humorous, curator Jeff Phillips explained that he wants people to take away much more than laughs.  He posed this question to the audience: does technology help or hinder the preservation of our memories? And in the age of smart phones, are our images really lasting?  Someone could find a box of photos from the 1950's and piece together a whole story from them, but it is hard to imagine the same happening with any images captured during this era. 

 

Visit Foundry Art Centre here

 

Exhibit Hours:

Monday-Closed

Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday-12 p.m.-4 p.m.

 

The exhibit is free and runs through June 21.

 

 

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