“It only took three ballerina-like leaps to cross the lawn and reach my grandfather’s screen door. He lived with my grandmother in a small house on property shared with my parents in New Jersey. Waiting at the door, he scooped me up like one of the squirming lambs he weighed in the barn. I was 8 (...)"
Almost 20 years later, in the summer of 1991, the fragile bridge of memory between Turczan’s family and Ukraine was disintegrating. Her grandfather had died, and she had just learnt of her parents dementia. Scrambling to make sense of these losses, she set out with my 8x10 camera to find the place from where they came and the people they left behind.
Her first trip to Ukraine coincided with the August coup in Moscow and Ukraine’s new independence. There, a rediscovered family welcomed Turczan: uncles, aunts, cousins, people she had only heard of.
For months at a time, year after year, they gave Turczan places to stay, fed her, offered rides to locations, and often assisted her while she built my ongoing collection of portraits.