Grace, Inevitability, and the Course of Life Through Family Memories

Like a walk in a garden, Erinn Springer guides us through black and white photography through intimate and familiar moments, as a way to portray the beauty of coping with life and death.

I remember my mother playing Für Elise on the basement piano. I remember several hot, monthly 4-H meetings. I remember my grandmother’s earth-colored caravan, my uncle’s big dogs and our horses thundering in the slanting afternoon sun…

It was my childhood and now, as I watch my niece and nephew, I begin to see their story, an iteration of the same story, but very different. Since their father died by suicide, these images have become a tale of loss and nostalgia unfolding through a land that will eventually win us all back. In these images, we witness both emotional and environmental transformation: the detritus of a life claimed by depression, the inevitable grip of age, and the discoveries of children who know nothing of death and spirituality other than the nature they explore. This family portrait has become my way of apprehending irreversible events, of accepting the notion of time and of trying to apprehend life through the beauty and death that are part of all living beings.

Words and pictures by Erinn Springer


Erinn Springer (b. 1993) is a photographer from northern Wisconsin. Embracing the character of rural life, his work is indebted to the cycles of earth, memory and mortality. Erinn’s projects and images have been featured and commissioned by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Die Zeit, M Le Monde, Smithsonian and Vogue, among others. Follow her on instagram and PhMuseum.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a handpicked selection of relevant projects from our community by curators at the PhMuseum.

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