Disintegrating children’s books with annotations:
Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, enhanced in crayon by my mother at age 6;
Once Upon a Time, traced in pencil by an unknown child artist, named Betty McCallum, sometime between the 1920’s and the 60’s; and
Greenleaf’s Common School Arithmetic, annotated by Amy Batchelder, also unknown to me, 1865.
While engaged in the daily struggle to protect my vintage book collection from the ravages of time and little hands, I began to notice that from a photographer’s viewpoint, the crayon-, pencil-, and other marks made in past decades have now matured into enhancements. A consideration of looking vs. doing and the sanctity of the mint-condition object, this series has been particularly meaningful to me as a parent who hopes to guide my own daughter into approaching beauty as something that can be either found or made, and most importantly as something that she herself can define.
Photographs copyright Sara Press, 2012