My parents, older sister and I immigrated to the US when I was an infant. Growing up far away from any extended family, I missed what I imagined to be the grounding force of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents around me. My parents rarely spoke of their lives in Belgium in the 1940s – 1960s.
I showed my mother a family photo from her childhood, and asked her, “What do you see?” She began to tell me an intergenerational story of feuds over money, alcoholism, infidelity, child abandonment, jealousy, and domestic abuse. This ongoing multimedia series is sparked by fragments of family history. The longer I work on it, the more magical realism seems to creep in.
Anne Piessens is a Boston-based fine art photographer whose work reimagines personal family lore and humans’ relationship with the natural world.
Her newest series, Origin Stories, brings elements of magical realism into hand-collaged fragments of family portraits. Past projects include Meliorations, which imagines ways to heal damaged landscapes, and In the Middle of Something, a portrait series about the tween years.