My Grandma Was a Turtle.
Photographs by Cuny Janssen.
Snoeck, 2010. 84 pp., 85 color illustrations, 9½x12¾”.
For this rhapsodic artist’s book, Dutch photographer Cuny Janssen visited that town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to photograph children with Native American ancestors and their surroundings. Her motivation was curiosity about what traces of their origins could be seen in these modern Native American children; the title refers to the Turtle clan of the Delaware tribe in Oklahoma. The 85 elegiac photos in this book, some in beautifully reproduced color, were taken with Janssen’s large format camera, and include surprisingly anachronistic images of the prairie, complete with bison. Janssen’s unique combination of children and history results in a lyrical bridge across time. The hand-pasted reproductions make this book feel like early photograph albums or collector’s albums for cigarette cards. Limited edition of 1000 copies.