PRINT April 1981


Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures

MOST EVERYONE HAS A FAMILY album tucked away somewhere. Myths are born and die in these pages. Michael Lesy, with cold detachment (and perhaps a touch of cynicism), has assembled edited transcripts from conversations among families and friends as they look through their albums. The personalities and depicted events sometimes overlap, but rarely do family members agree on their interpretations of shared memories. Each person speaking takes the center of his or her own story. They all take you into their confidence, or rather they took in Michael Lesy, revealing intimate details, secrets, joys and ancient grievances. I felt as though I were eavesdropping—I was fascinated yet uncomfortable. Parts of the introduction are questionable, particularly Lesy’s undigested psychology, but the book’s concept is remarkable, real and true.



Michael Lesy, Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures (New York: Pantheon Books), 144 pages, 390 illustrations.