Family photos have an incredible ability to follow us throughout our lives, often in ways we never expected. Photographer Cathy Panebianco could never shake her father’s collection of slides. Fortunately, with a little inspiration, Cathy found the perfect way to honor her father’s captured moments.
“My dad took these slides when he was between the ages of about 15 to 26 and would always show them to his parents or grandparents. At the time they were the newest thing.”
“Every Christmas, they’d bring out these slides. My dad has this old projector from like 1940 which we still have - those old ones. It wasn’t even a carousel. The slides would melt if you left them in there too long!”
While these slides had been part of the family for decades and she’d been working as a photographer for years, it wasn’t until 2016 that Cathy stumbled into what would soon become “No Memory Is Ever Alone.”
“I was doing a 365 project on Instagram - taking a picture a day of a word or phrase - and the phrase that day was ‘from where I stand’. I was over at my mom’s and she had the slides out. I just pulled out the pic of my mom on the boat and I realized after a while that the backgrounds matched up between the slide and where we were on Chautauqua Lake. The original was from Newboro Lake in Canada where our family’s gone for years so that slide means a lot to me because we still go there.”
With only her iPhone in hand, Cathy began finding more present-day backgrounds that fit seamlessly with her father’s slides so she did what any good photographer would do and let her shutter do the talking.
“I started messing around and really loved the idea that your present and your past meet. I also liked the idea that there’s these little spirits in the slides that stay with you so your loved ones are still with you even if they’re not. It’s really comforting to know that they’re around you.”
Cathy feels so fortunate that her dad held onto those slides, a resilient bunch that survived 50 years of moves across the United States and a real beacon of memories.
“I love the one of my dad on the lake. He’s not much of a smiler and doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but he loves the water and he loves the lake. He’s so joyful because that's where he loves to be and we all know it.”
The photos are from her family’s history, but “No Memory Is Ever Alone” became an award-winning series due to its innate connection to the masses.
“These are my family photos but they are every family’s photos. Everyone has photos. Everyone goes on vacation, everyone has a memory that it dredges up for them.”
A big thank you to Cathy for taking the time to share with us. As a way to build off her concept that ‘the past and present meet,’ (something we’re very familiar with at Photomyne) Cathy also scanned her father’s slides with SlideScan so the original images can continue to live on their own. We’ve presented them to you together to show exactly how she’s transformed an antiquated photography medium into a modern success story.
Have slides of your own laying around at home? Download SlideScan and turn those little squares into digital photos you can truly enjoy.