Leaving My Behind in the Past

previously Adlai Stevenson, Life magazine 1965

I’ve been thinking about the lyrics to the B-52s song, The Detour Thru Your Mind: I need to leave my past behind. I need to leave my behind in the past. Whenever I work on my historical self-portrait project, I think, “I have to stop this. It’s disturbing and points to insanity. I need to leave the past and move into the 21st century.” Then, I find a new technique to simulate photo grain in 1916 and start again. Some of you may be saying, “This is the most vain thing I have ever seen. How could someone be so self-absorbed?” Others might say, “Sad. Very sad when I mind is lost.”

You know how trans-gendered people feel like they are in the wrong body? I feel like I’m in the wrong time. Working on these images is a small attempt to place myself back in the right temporal place. Of course, I only use family photos. Otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense. I don’t want a different family. And, frankly, it looks fun to spend life summering in Newport and doing the European tour for four months each year, or running for president, or starting an artist colony in Big Sur during the depression. So, for your enjoyment, like watching a reality show when someone slowly goes mad, here is the latest batch.

previously President Benjamin Harrison, 1896

previously Nicholas Meriwether Lewis, 1840

previously Paul Owen Flint 1915

previously Walter Taliaferro, 1913

previously Nicholas Longworth II with Alice Roosevelt, 1926

Harvard swimming, 1916

previously Chester Gavin Arthur III, by Brett Weston, 1935

South Pacific, 1943

previously Hal Taliaferro, 1943

previously Wilbur Walker, 1954

previously Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, 1969

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5 Responses to “Leaving My Behind in the Past”

  1. Deborah Walker Says:

    I love your creativity and, as a relative, appreciate the family history aspects of your web site. But I must admit, I was a bit shocked and disturbed?! to find your face on my father’s portrait (Wilbur L. Walker). Still thinking about it…Deb Walker

  2. Sean Says:

    It’s a photo I found in my grandmother’s box of photos. I’ll gladly take it down if you find it too odd. I’m on my grandfather and great grandfather also, and I think it’s disturbing.

  3. James Walker Says:

    I too appreciate your website as another family member. Wilbur Walker was also my father. Since I was not able to access the photograph, I was wondering it this means you have removed it or that it is a technical glitch? I understand your need to be creative, but sometimes there are limits. I too find it somewhat disturbing.

  4. James Walker Says:

    Another quick note! I would interested in obtaining an unaltered copy of the photgraph, if possible.

  5. Deb Walker Says:

    Hi, no need to take it down. I think it is a fun “installation”. I enjoy your creativity on this page and in the other parts of your blog-especially related to our family. I am intrigued that you found my Dad’s photo in your grandmother’s picture box. Do you mind sharing your grandmother’s name?