Cellar Door

By Melissa Ann Pinney and Emma James Pinney Lehman
[Evanston, Illinois]: Melissa Ann Pinney, 2017. Edition of 20.

6.5 x 7"; 26 pages including pastedowns. Archival pigment printing pm archival matter rag paper. Double-sided accordion. Slipcased and numbered.

Melissa Ann Pinney: "This project started when my daughter, Emma, was 6 years old as an homage to a well-known Alfred Stieglitz photograph of Georgia Engelhard and is on-going.

"The recto side of the book begins when Emma is 6 years old and ends at Emma's 8th grade graduation. The verso side continues through this past September [2017]. Emma is now 22 years old."

Melissa Pinney, Introduction: "I made the first the Cellar Door picture in May, 2001, as a homage to the famous Alfred Steiglitz portrait of Georgia Engelhard. We had just celebrated Emma’s sixth birthday with a party in the backyard. Emma climbed up on the old cellar door; I was reminded of Steiglitz's photograph... and so it began.

"It wasn’t until a year had gone by that I thought to continue the series, at first once a year and then once every season or so. Emma is now twenty-one years old and the photographs span more than a decade. We see Emma grow as the state of the house and garden change with her. My subjects here are emerging feminine identity, memory, and the passage of time. I asked Emma about her experience of the series and her response was a revelation to me."

Emma Pinney: "Over the years, my mom persuaded me with various incentives to climb up onto the cellar door to take photos; I remember resisting and arguing with her every time. I am grateful that she didn’t give up or give into my protests, especially during my angsty teenage years. Now when I look at the Cellar Door series I finally see what she always saw— a unique, meaningful compilation of my childhood and how I became the woman I am today."
$600