A Photographer Revisits the Book That Taught Her About Dying | The New Yorker

A Photographer Revisits the Book That Taught Her About Dying

Inspired by an antique photo collection called “Wisconsin Death Trip,” Alessandra Sanguinetti went in search of her own American gothic.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/a-photographer-revisits-the-book-that-taught-her-about-dying

When the photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti was growing up in Argentina during the nineteen-seventies, her mother kept on the coffee table a copy of “Wisconsin Death Trip,” a collection of photographs taken between 1890 and 1910 by Charles Van Schaick. Made in the Wisconsin city of Black River Falls, they included studio portraits of elderly residents with worn faces and worn boots, images of large families outside small clapboard houses, and several postmortem portrayals of infants laid out in their coffins. “It was my first encounter with mortality—I remember thinking, I am going to die,” Sanguinetti recalled recently. “The book also introduced me to the idea that history is subjective. I had never seen history this way before. It had always been facts. It had always been dates. It had never been a mood, a feeling.”