This body of work was made over the seven-year period, 2008-2015. With my parents in their late seventies I felt an urgency to know what was behind each of their cool facades, to know who they were as people. I visited them frequently at their home in Boca Raton, Florida, along with my brother who lived in a place of his own nearby. The camera allowed me to be with them more easily; it was a kind of shield. When my brother passed suddenly in 2013, ultimately from the substance abuse that had plagued him most of his adult life we were shocked and shaken; I continued to make the work in this collection for another two years. The narrative is of my family, coping with years of silence, grief, shame, aging, secrets held and that ultimate loss, but it is a story of many American families, a story of our times.
The images here are a selection from a larger body of work that lives as a self-published book by the same name, along with twelve pages of original text, published in 2017.
All images © Jo Ann Chaus
By Jo Ann Chaus