February 1973, 2009 Self-Portrait – photographs; 11 x 14 in.
The underlying basis for my work is having lost almost all memory of my childhood, of having lived within a family, having had a mother, when she died just after I was twelve. The quality of remembering, the passing of time, the recording of family and telling the stories of people who don't usually tell their stories have been major preoccupations.
Melissa Shook has been a documentary photographer for forty years. Now she’s also working in documentary video about the backstretch of a local racetrack, making installations with clay, writing and continuing the daily eight-month self-portrait series that she began in 1973. Three chapbooks of poetry will soon be published. She has retired from teaching photography at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, though she still teaches part time. www.melissashook.com
© Melissa Shook