Generations is a work about three generations of women in my family on my mother’s side and where they went to school. I interviewed my mother and grandmother about the clothes they wore, the areas of the school they spent time in, and the experiences they had there. I then traveled to the former high schools of my grandmother, mother, and myself wearing the clothing they would have worn. The images include parts of the schools that were especially significant in each woman’s experience and aim to capture the essence of her identity (and the collective identities of the time and place) through pose and attire. Ultimately, the absence of other people from these photos draws the focus to the individual while still showcasing the place. While this method allowed for a wide range of attractive compositions, I would like to create an extension of the work which includes contemporary students, which would highlight the differences between the past identities portrayed and the present context (particularly through clothing).
Places included: Perry High School (now Perry Traditional Academy), Pittsburgh, PA; Shaler Area High School, Shaler, PA; Pine-Richland High School, Gibsonia, PA
“We didn’t wear skirts that showed off the knees…that was ‘square.'” -Ruth Ott
“This is just the biology club, covering the steps; it was huge. There were over 3oo of us…That’s me…”– Ruth Ott (For this photograph, I stood where my grandmother stood in the yearbook photo).
“When I was seven, we moved out of the North Side because black people were moving in. I had to leave Annunciation School…I loved that school, and that house…” -Diane Scheib (my mother speaking about white flight from the neighborhood, where she lived with my aunt, uncle, and grandparents until second grade).
My grandmother lived across the street from her high school, on the second floor of a shoe shop run by my great-grandfather.
“I wasn’t really allowed to wear those clothes and the make-up, so I’d get changed in the car on the way to a party or concert.” -Diane Scheib (on punk fashion)
“That (was) the student smoking lounge. We used to run out there to meet up for a puff and then run to class- I don’t know how we had time, but we did it. Ed, your father, and I.” -Diane Scheib
“People met up at this overlook a lot. It’s right by the main staircase.” -Diane Scheib
“The senior yearbook was so stupid. The cover said, ‘Who Cares?’…When you open it up, the first page says, ‘We Do!’ But everyone was walking around with yearbooks that said ‘Who Cares’…” -Diane Scheib
These were the steps to the Art Department, so I was here a lot. I even had a big installation there once…
I loved these headphones- used them every day, especially on the bus. Sometimes even in the hallways, I’d catch a single song on the 5-minute trips between classes.
Other Interesting Facts to Note:
-The green book used in the photos for my grandmother is one that I own, but it happens to be from 1962. (This is the year she graduated.)
-The blue ribbon in my hair in my grandmother’s outfit is from my mother’s prom dress.
-In each of the photos, I am wearing lipstick owned by the woman represented.