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Grandparents - Baptism Boy
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© Milton Rogovin

Milton Rogovin
American, New York City, 1974, 1985, 1992
Gelatin silver print


97.XM.43.5

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Once you've studied the pictures for a while, they begin to speak. The people in the pictures hold still . . . They tell you their life-stories.

In this sequence of images, Milton Rogovin depicts the development of a family, as the same boy grows from infancy to adulthood. First, proud grandparents hold the infant on the day of his baptism in 1974. Then, at eleven years old, the boy is shown in a suit and tie beside his grandmother. The boy's grandfather is not included in this image, which immediately provokes questions as to his whereabouts. The likely cause of his absence can only be his death. Finally, the boy is shown as a strong young man of eighteen, towering over his small grandmother who leans on a dresser for support.

Rogovin has spent two decades photographing families in his neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. As a member of the community, he is trusted to represent faithfully and sensitively the lives of his subjects. His portraits are consistently presented as sets of three pictures showing the changes that families undergo over time.