Friday, August 15, 2014

Girls Standing On Lawns

My teenage son admires the artist, Maira Kalman.

He introduced me to a fascinating book, Girls Standing on Lawns, the first in a series of collaborations between Maria Kalman, Daniel Handler, and New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

This short but poignant book is an amalgamation of photographs, prose, and paintings. The book features snapshots of girls on lawns from MoMA’s extensive collection of vernacular photography. Kalman uses these simple photographs of girls standing on grassy patches in front of homes, in a variety of poses and clothing, of all ages and shapes and sizes, and with all manner of props and paraphernalia as muses for her paintings. Author, Daniel Handler, of Lemony Snicket fame, wrote the words to tell the story of the images.

Who among us has not heard this familiar request?  

Meet me on the lawn,
I want to take
a picture of you.

On a recent trip to a local flea market, I sorted through a box of old photos, and quickly came up with a collection of photographs of girls standing on lawns, including one little boy, because sometimes boys stand on lawns, too. 


And in the old trunk in my mother's living room, buried in a shoe box, I found a picture of me standing on the lawn of my childhood home, the one my mother still lives in today.

A painting, a photograph,
a sentence, a pose,
Keep track of this.
You will not remember
every place you have stood.
A picture will last longer.
There will come a time when
you can't believe it's you
standing on that lawn.

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen today and my Friday Find is this lovely book of girls standing on lawns which admonishes,

Stand for something. 
stand for something!
Otherwise what do
you stand for,
why are you even standing?

If you have a few minutes, check out this video portrait of Maira Klaman.  Inspiration awaits.


  1. Love these old pictures and the book, must look that one up.

  2. Great post! I'm so happy to have found your site via KK's link up! I'll have to visit very often! browse more of your posts :o)

  3. We stood on lawns yesterday and took pictures. You took pictures of me (sitting) and I took one of you (you didn't even know). Old photos often had themes--girls stood on lawns, usually by a bush, girls perched on the fenders of cars (my mother's favorite pose), boys lounged beside their cars, mamas held babies, and dogs were often in the background. So many pictures outdoors, maybe because they didn't have flash cameras.

    Best of all is that picture of you. You haven't changed a bit! Still cute after all these years!

  4. hi Donna, such a great collection of lawn photos ... I did have to do a double take ... some of them look exactly ones I have! I love the photo of you ... cute!!

  5. I love old time photos - you have a wonderful collection. Love the one of you - such a sweet smile! I'll have to look for that book, so interesting.

  6. A lovely collection of old photos . ! Love the photo of you ( not that you're old !! ) , adorable :))

  7. What struck me was that your son introduced you to the amazing! Love the idea and the fact that you were able to find some old photos of your own. Thank you for sharing.

  8. The days of standing on the lawn for pictures after church seems long gone, but it was so much a part of my growing up years. This is triggering an idea for a story...

  9. Thank you donna! I so enjoyed this post - the video, your collection of photos, and my favorite the photo of you as a child - adorable! and Maira - not familiar with her but did recognize her art. so fascinating. off to the art museum in hong kong - I feel inspired!

  10. in the rush of my show last weekend, I missed this post of yours - I never thought previously about standing on the lawn... I have a bunch of old photos...I'm curious about them now...I agree with Sarah - there's an idea for a story (or a collage!) here...

  11. Its simple.. I adored this so much..More than I can say. xo

  12. inspiring post! love those B&W's... especially the ones in which the photographers' shadows are present! i don't know why.... but they are so emotive and nostalgic.


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