I encountered the image of Mercedes McKee in Muscatine, Iowa, in May 2001 and made several photographs of her. I studied these photographs and a month later returned to photograph her again. I was after an image of her and through it an understanfing of photography's place in our imagination; how photography both makes, and takes, memories.

Mercedes was first photographed in 1942 to promote the family's pearl button business. When the business declined the picture of here was set aside. Siuxty years passed. Now she was out again, standing in the shell of a building to become the Pearl Button Museum. She was there as the optimistic emblem of an era that had faded into history.

But her image was unfaded and I was held by that. To me her picture gives expression to photography's promise of immortality.

In reaching for immortality the immages of Mercedes McKee connect with the themes of duality in my work:of color and its absence, of truth and illusion, permanence and evanescence, of things and the life behind them.

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