Why I Wrote ‘Pictures of You’

In the 20th century, amateur photography took history – and collective memory – out of the hands of historians and gave it to individuals. To create ‘Pictures of You’, I spent hundreds of hours exploring the shelves of the Archive of Modern Conflict. I opened albums and folders filled with longing and curiosity. I discovered lives and ways of living that called out to be witnessed, valued, remembered.

Over the course of years I set aside those images that most touched me, that aroused my curiosity, that made me laugh or sigh. I took one photograph, or group of photographs, from each decade of the 20th century. I researched each one until no more hard facts could be distilled and then, from these, told the subject’s possible true story, in their own voice.

Step with me into secret gardens, hear men tell of having seen angels, and watch their stories take wing.