work in progress describes the dispersion of a single family - my
own - from Lithuania in the late 1800s to North America, England,
South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Israel, and Ukraine. It is about
how, more than a century later, Grinkers began to reconnect and
forge links between present and past.
The story of my family is one shared by many. The goal of this project
is to engage audiences with the universal experience of diaspora;
these images and interviews, of specific places, people, and relationships
in the course of my family’s history, reflect common experiences
of transience, estrangement, and, finally, rootedness. The Jewish
diaspora inflects my family’s disparate paths; the struggles
of maintaining tradition while adapting to new social environments
are also familiar within a broad understanding of cultural migration.
Distant Relations is about how people make their own history. With
texts written by anthropologist, Richard Grinker, this history of
a single family's successes and failures-unique and yet representative
of so many contemporary diasporic journeys–documents the uplifting
and enduring struggle to live in the 21st century while never forgetting
one's ancestors and homelands.
The images here were made in Lithuania in 2003, and South Africa
in 2005. I am currently working at sites in the United States; and
plan to work in Argentina and England in 2007, followed by trips
to Australia, Israel, and Ukraine, and back to Lithuania.
NY Times Lens: