When my husband Carl’s grandparents, Liz and Bassett, passed a few years ago the family gave me the several boxes full of slides they’d had from their vacations around the world, thinking that as an artist I could use them. Well, I finally am working on a project that they’ll be perfect for so I’ve been shifting through the many pictures of their voyages to Italy, Greece, Guatemala, England, and on and on.
It’s been interesting to experience the sights through the lens of these two very intelligent, educated people because their pictures are not nearly as hokey as, say, a normal family’s (and I mean this in the best way possible). There are no pictures really of them or their friends posed in front of things, no pictures of their hotel rooms, nothing about what they ate (what- is that just my family?), no pictures of guided tours or of them buying tourist knicknacks. Instead their photos feel anthropological, like they are these two scientists adrift in foreigness that they are trying to accurately represent. They took pictures of the architecture, the natives, and other tourists–all of them in their respective natural habitats. While it’s all really interesting, very little of it feels ‘fun’, which surprises me just a little because they really were lovely people (and Bassett in particular had a great sense of humor). Carl tells me he is not surprised.
Well, today I found documentation of their adventures in the Caribbean and Florida keys. These were my favorite. Here is that little bit of fun I was missing. Who knew cigarette companies were the major sponsors of Dolphinariums? Who knew that you could make your own aquatic attraction with a large swimming pool and a mobile home with waves painted on it?