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Portraits of Home: the family album

This project began as an assignment for my first photography student at the end of our first quarter; a documentation of the people, places and experiences that make us who we are. It brings into question the very essence of what home means to each of us, and explores the importance of family, history, tradition, and place in forming the foundations of our lives.

My family has always kept photo albums, on both sides. My mom and my grandma Marie together saved hundreds of photographs documenting their lives [the entire extended family's collections amount to possibly thousands of photos] and serves as an extensive documentation of their lives during the changing times in a small logging town in the heart of Washington. The photos from my dad's side of the family tell a different story: that of a never-stay-in-the-same-place family spread all over the States, who always made time to come together.

The following images are a selection of scans of photographs taken and saved by my mom, dad and grandmother Valeria (plus a few classics from my lifetime). It is intended as a portrait of home not only for me and my sister, but also our parents and extended family. This selection is the very beginning of a greater historical interest of mine: the extensive photographic documentation that exists of everyday people throughout the 20th Century, thanks to the increasing accessibility of film cameras as technology advanced, and people who have saved the photographs.


The moment it all began. Olympia, Washington c. 2000

The Dalthorp family. American Midwest c. 1920

Yours truly. <3 Olympia, Washington c. 1997

Main Street. Morton, Washington c. 1971

My mom in Europe, shortly after graduating from the University. c. 1975

Grandpa Bennett and his wife. Morton, Washington c. 1975

Mother & Daughter photos (taken every few years). Morton, Washington c. 1971

Summertime fun in the Pacific Northwest. c. 1975

The first thing you do when you arrive back home at the lake: dive in. Brimson, Minnesota, c. 1965

My dad's old cabin. Brimson, Minnesota c. 1965

"Pony Boy" (Grandpa Gene). Morton, Washington c. 1950

Another Amburgy family gathering. Morton, Washington c. 1970

Taken only a few years after my mom had written in one of her photo albums that the only PNW outdoor sport she didn't like was skiing. Somewhere in the Western Washington Cascade Mountains c. 1980

My dad and his best friend Dennis. Northern Minnesota c. 1975

Living free at the cabin. Trout Lake, Washington c. 1999

The Gorge. c. 1985

Grandma Valeria and Grandpa Zeke. c. 1965

My 2nd grade school pictures (glamorous velvet top, fairy pin, and handmade earrings).

Not a thing has changed. Olympia, Washington c. 2004


Lindsey Dalthorp is an independent artist, photographer and teacher based in Olympia, Washington. Main themes in her photography include community, history and social justice. Her work has been featured in Olympia’s progressive newspaper Works In Progress, culture and travel magazine Qué Pasa Oaxaca, and The Washington Post. Lindsey likes to spend her time exploring new places, escaping to the forest or beach whenever possible, and photographing wherever she goes.

The idea for this project was inspired by Las Fotos Project based in Los Angeles, California.

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