A photo collage portrait distilled from iconic memories.

If we reduce the life of an individual to 5-10 pictures, is not our very essence somehow lost? No single picture can ever do justice to our life story, nor can it convey what it felt like to be us during the tiny or momentous moments in our lives.  So I’ve developed a unique process to flesh out the whole person in a single picture.  I create storytelling photo collage portraits that dramatize iconic moments in your personal history.

The essence of  a good portrait lies in our personal and collective memory, and also in our memory of how it felt to be photographed in that fraction of a second. So I like to interview you about every part of our subject’s life that can impart life lessons. From our very first conversation together, I will draw out great stories from family lore or corporate history. I’ll ask for existing photos and any genealogical research as well. Later on in the process I may have to search for other photos to stand in for memories or events for which there are no photos.

What better way for us to keep future generations emotionally connected to ancestors or kin than by visualizing historyThat goes for our descendants or members of the board.  Because your Legacy Dreamscape will never be driven by the number of awards or high positions held in your lifetime, it will be built on character. Not resumes.

> See also Remember Me Art Books

The Aim of a Legacy Dreamscape

Retelling the “point of our existence” as visualized parables is exactly what Legacy Dreamscapes do. This becomes especially delicious when complemented by an oral history taken from friends, colleagues and family. Here are some of the many variations I’ve created for clients:  

  1. To conjure up factual and factitious events or memories for which there are no photos
  2. To use oral history to identify iconic moments otherwise lost
  3. To restore rediscovered and rescued photographs in fine art photomontages using whatever photos or artifacts are still in existence
  4. To create an accurate pictorial history for the genealogist in the family
  5. To transpose the present into the past (like “posing” with ancestors when you bring back photos of the old homestead from a heritage vacation)

Imagine a photo-op with your ancestors

Speaking of “posing with ancestors,” one of the most popular uses of Legacy Dreamscapes is jumping back in time: planning a heritage travel vacation to one’s ancestral homeland for this very purpose. Families will snap photos of themselves standing in front of the old homestead or whatever remains of the old neighborhood, and then bring photos back to me so I can insert their ancestors right alongside them. Or vice versa: I’ll seamlessly insert ancestors standing or sitting alongside descendants in their current homes!

Bring me your family lore and genealogical research, and I’ll incorporate these elements into your Legacy Dreamscape in the form of whimsical objects, historical ephemera and more local color to create the most meaning-laden portrait you’ll ever give or get.

> Listen to Nancy Gershman on Anita Talks Genealogy as I explain how families can prepare to create a Legacy Dreamscape while on their heritage vacation

As on any good odyssey, life lessons come alive in stories that contain both the highs and lows in our histories – for isn’t it true that we learn as much from our struggles as from our successes?