Michelle Caplan’s work has been a personal favourite of mine ever since I came across her website a few months ago. Her work is a beautiful combination of collage and assemblages and her work is mostly inspired by old, vintage photographs and things she has found from flea markets and bargain sales. She finds these old photos and the people in them are the inspiration. What makes her work so special is how she creates her own story for them and for what she thinks they were like or what type of life they may have lived.
Her work is based on forgotten history and it is up to her imagination to create a story about a person in the photograph. She believes that they eyes tell a great deal and that there are endless possibilities which is what makes her work so interesting and inventive.
Michelle uses a lot of different media in her work such as photographs, fabric swatches, newspaper clippings and other ephemera.
“[She is] always so struck by how sad it is that a families memories end up in someone else’s hands.”
Those images are precious to her and she can’t imagine her family photographs in a box for strangers to rummage around. She combines her passion for family history and often makes pieces on commission.
In an article for Real Simple (November 2007) she talks about how she can spend hours seeking good photographs because old snapshots are plagued by sunspots, fingers on the lenses, double exposures or the takers own shadow. She picks ones of people you think you would like to know.
“To me, the collage captures her personality, the true essence of her life”
Michelle believes her portraits bring life to photographic history, each piece with its own narrative; trying to tell the story of the person behind the image. It can provide a link to the families past and provide a visual legacy for the future.
“A piece can capture a point in time in the ever changing life of a child, or evoke the memory of a beloved relative long past”
Her work has inspired my own by looking into my family history and learning more about my late relatives in the process. I feel I have the same passion as Caplan does for old photographs rich with history and narratives. I have experimented with different types of collage in the process each which reflect a different person, time or event.
For more information on the artist featured here please visit: www.michellecaplan.com