Los Angeles photographer Meg Madison is creating a very cool project with women over the age of sixty, involving them in a process-powered artwork with cyanotypes, aka "sun prints." My mom, who has been called "Schatzie" since she was a kid, is 95 years old, and she agreed to be one of the participants. Meg selected the L.A. River as the site for Schatzie's print, and with the river, she was able to rinse the exposed paper. My husband Ken Marchionno is also seen in the video, helping with the logistics required to interact with a nonagenarian.
The metaphors were active that day. The sun and shadows seemed independent of each other, and the wind became a third persona. The water, dirty though it was, flowed as cleansing and mighty. Aging and death made their marks.
In a typical week, my mom talks about her death more often than someone younger would ever contemplate, and it becomes a frequent footnote in our conversations. It seems forever hanging above us, so it surely followed us to the river that day. When I showed my mother this video, she saw the same affects of death that I did. "I look like I'm laying there dead!" she squealed with delight. And then we had an uproarious laugh. Unexpectedly, Meg's project provided the peculiar experience for us to play dress-up at death's door where we found life's droll humor.