It started when I was a kid, absorbed in a pictorial history of WW1 and starring at the face of a young soldier not much older than I was at the time. It made me sad to think that he had lived a life and now (probably) no one remembered he had ever even existed.

With his loves, hates, fears, hopes, quirks, talents, all of it.

What was he thinking at this very moment? WHO was he?

He had no idea–could never imagine–that I’d be here so many years later trying to see him and make him alive again.

And that’s what it was, too. I felt like if I could just clearly enough imagine his life a few seconds before and after the shutter snap, he wouldn’t be lost and his life would have meaning again. I didn’t put it in those words at the time, of course, but that’s what it was. Like I HAD to try to remember him or he’d be forgotten forever.

Anyway, this sometimes-obsession with trying to remember long gone strangers has continued off and on through the years. I have a stack of old photos rescued from secondhand shops because of it. I always had a vague idea to incorporate them into art.

And while part of me feels like it’s almost blasphemous to cut old photos, I think it’s better to give them—and those they depict—a new life.

So here’s the first.

Looks 1920s. Who is she? I say her name is Abigail, but everyone calls her Abbie.

Who is she with?

Why are they dressed up? Double date?

Where are they off to?

Did they have a good time? Dance the Charleston? I like to think so.