Closet Memories

Through the years I have held on to various items and pieces of clothing that have a particular sentimental value. Among these are dresses sewn by my grandmother from my childhood, my glamour girl clothes from my teens and my flight attendant uniform from my twenties. The memories attached to this clothing range from the joy of having a special Easter dress made just for me, to the sights, tastes and smells experienced when flying for an airline.

Although these objects are hanging in the back of my closet, a large part of my identity is somehow connected to them. These images of me that I have recreated using models, present questions about how these experiences made me who I am today. I find some answers, but certain mysteries remain, such as how does a young girl grow up seemingly overnight and how does one transition from independent young woman into the world of a new bride.

I have re-experienced moments from my past, through memories brought on by these pieces of clothing. What I gleaned from this project is that memories are not fact. They are naturally part fiction, touched by desire and the realities of life, with wishful thinking and a few bits of truth thrown into the mix.

Jeani Elbaum