Artist Zemula Barr is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the series ‘Letter From The Front Porch’. To see Zemula’s body of work, click on any image.
When I was a young girl, I made my first visit to my stepfather Peter’s family summer home in Northern Wisconsin, which has stood on the shores of Lake Superior since the early 1900s. I found the cottage’s lack of electricity and the stories of grandmother Daisy haunting one of the downstairs bedrooms terrifying. As I grew older I began to love the old cottage and the stories it held, and I found comfort sleeping in Daisy’s old room. Every year, as his visit would come to an end, Peter would write a “Letter from the Front Porch” to the rest of the family, explaining all of the repairs and projects that he and my two stepbrothers had accomplished. Once home, he would photocopy the letter to send out to the extended family. I still have them all saved, along with the many other letters Peter wrote me throughout his life.
Peter passed away in September 2019. Our last conversation was one-sided, with my sister-in-law holding the phone up to his ear as I told him I loved him and was sorry I couldn’t be there.
Now I compose my own “letter” to Peter from the front porch, in honor of him and in remembrance of this special place that he so generously shared with me.
Zemula Barr is an artist originally from Portland, Oregon, and currently based in Chicago, Illinois. She works with digital and analog photographic technologies with a focus on memory, loss, and humankind’s relationship to the natural world. Recently, her work has been exhibited at the Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, Oregon, the SE Center for Photography in South Carolina, Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon, and Perspective Gallery in Evanston, Illinois.
All images and text © Zemula Barr
By Zemula Barr
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