Saturday, May 06, 2006

MOTHERS
DAUGHTERS
AND
GRANDAUGHTERS


About 20 or more years ago, I had an idea for a book . It was Mothers And Daughters and Grandaughters, (if indeed there were any grandaughters....). It was to be a book of photographs and reminiscences by the subjects being photographed. I began to think about who amongst my women friends had daughters, and also, who amongst my women friends had mothers still alive and kicking...Maxine Stuart and her daughter Chrissy Maxwell (above) were one of the first 'pairs' that I photographed. It was a lot of fun and a really involving creative project, and ultimately all of the women I photographed and their family's had some lovely pictures that they all tell me they cherish to this day...

Unfortunately, the book never came to pass and I remember at the time I began to do this having a phone conversation with my good and dear friend Lee Grant...(An extrordianry actress and a brilliant director, too) who has a daughter herself...and telling her about my idea, hoping at some point to photograph Lee and her daughter Dinah. She thought it was a wonderful idea and said...'Do it Naomi, before somebody else does, cause you know that somebody will do it because it is such a fabulous idea...'. She was right. Someone else did do it and a few other someone-elses have done it since then, too.

But, I realize that what I saw in my minds eye...and the thrust of the pictures I actually did take and wanted to take too, were different than anyone elses because...(as Martha Graham so aptly put it...), this was my 'unique' vision. Plus the back story's, if you will, on some of the people I photographed were all pretty interesting....and in some ways, now that so much time has passed...more interesting with that very passage of time. Take Maxine Stuart, for instance...

Maxine is a truly special and unique woman....an 'original' as they say. And a brilliantly talented actress with a great sense of humor and a very unique way of looking at things. I first met Maxine just weeks after I joined Theatre West, a million years ago. She was one of the 'founding' members and was very very involved in this, at that time, small incredible group of artists. At the time I met her she was divorced from Chrissy's Dad, and Chrissy was a teenager, completely in love with 'The Beatles', with posters all over her room of The Fab Four, as they were called, back then in '08!

One of the most wonderful things that Maxine did as an actress was a 'Twilight Zone', called, "Eye Of The Beholder". For those who might not be familiar with this show or this particular episode, it was a very famous episode that has always created a lot of discussion. It is a particularly intertesting episode because of living and working in Hollywood, where "looks" are so important. This episode of Twilight Zone had some irony's to it, too. It is about a young woman who we see in bandages at the very beginning of the show and then subsequently all through the show...she is, we find out at the beginning, horrified by how she looks and the 'doctors' have not been able to 'fix' her. So, all through the show we never see her, except in those bandages.And we don't see her doctors and nurses either, because they are filmed in shadows throughout the entire show...we do hear them talking about how ugly she is and how hopeless it all is and we see her anguish and watch her try to rip off her bandages because she is in so much pain about her looks, but we never actually 'see' those doctors and nurses. And when we finally do see them, we see that they all look like 'pig people', with pig noses, etc...really really awful horrible looking extremely ugly people by our standards, and then when we see the woman without her bandages at the end of the show after they tell her it is hopeless and they cannot do anything to fix her face, and when we see her finally she looks exactly like the ideal of beauty that Hollywood was and is always selling us, and she is considered The Ugly One by the Pig People, and is banashed to a place with others 'of her kind'....we see a very handsome man by Hollywood standards welcoming her to some dungeon place where all these 'ugly's' are sent! The Pig People doctors and nurses are the Beautiful People, and the woman, now out of her bandages is the ugly one. "The Eye Of The Beholder", indeed! An important statement, for sure. Okay. But here's the ironic part. Maxine played the woman in the bandages all through the show, doing all this incredibly brilliant 'acting', and when it came time for her to be unbandaged they hired another actress for that part of the show because they didn't think Maxine was pretty enough! How screwed up is that? That says it all about Hollywood, doesn't it? Maxine always saw the irony of this, even while they were filming this episode.

Over the years Maxine has acted in many films and on many Television shows. In fact she was nominated for an Emmy about 6 years ago for a Guest Starring role. She married a wonderful darling man who happens to be a writer, about twenty-five years ago, and her dear daughter Chris, who is a very successful Entertainment Lawyer here in L.A., just got married herself, about three months ago.

One of the things I enjoyed about taking these pictures was seeing many of the related women in profile and seeing how much or how little the daughters looked like there mothers...in this case, I was surprised at how much Chrissy looked like Maxine, in profile. I honestly hadn't ever thought they looked that much alike, but once I saw them in profile the resemblence was startling to me and then I saw the similarities in the other pictures in a deeper way.

I will be posting more of these photographs as we go along....I photographed quite a few sets of Mothers And Daughters, and in three cases there were Grandmothers as well....so as I always say....

More to come...






The photo's above were taken on the campus of UCLA because Maxine lived in a charming apartment there in Westwood, which was walking distance to the campus and I thought since she didn't have a garden, that this would be a lovely setting for photographing these two amazing women. Maxine, who is quite a bit older than me will turn 89 this June 28th...just one day after my birthday...









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53 Comments:
had this to say:

You post is full of irony. There are a lot of lessons that should be learnt from it too, not only by those in Hollywood but the world over.
Have a good Saturday

btw my Hubby is fantastic and has the most amazing whacky sense of humour I never ever know what he will do/say next. He also nearly always keep a very straight face... except for a twinkle in his eye

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 2:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

oooooo I hope that you got my last comment it disapeared when I pressed the button

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 2:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The mother/daughter/granddaughter book sounds like an interesting concept. I'll look forward to more photos... It was a hoot to see those dead pink flamingos in your Florida/Bird flu post.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 4:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Not only do i remember the show but I remember the episode! (that in itself is scarey lol)

How ironic that some of our discussion related to this topic of "eye of the beholder". so much could and is said about it.

I think you should reconsider the book idea before you post many of the photos.. though, as you say "it's been done more then once now".. a new view on it is always welcomed. After all.. aren't there but a few stories to tell, yet many ways to tell it??

I enjoyed this post very much. but i pretty much enjoy all your posts, be it about people or plants or whatever :o)

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 7:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Just gorgeous....and a nice tribute to Maxine :-)

I look exactly like my mother (usually I prefix that statement with 'unfortunately'!)

cq

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 7:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

oh wow! i love this post, naomi! love the pics too! too bad about the book but you can still go ahead and have it published because no one will have pics quite like yours. your anecdotes will be truly unique! :)

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 8:16:00 AM PDT 

Blogger T.
had this to say:

Such an amazing post, as usual Naomi. And thanks for the doggy name. While I didn't gag, I have to pass on Sparky. My hubs childhood dog was named Sparky and he refuses to name "the rat" after his precious dead dog. You see what I'm up against here?

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:20:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I hope you still plan on doing this.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:20:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful post and those are amazing photographs!

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful idea, Naomi. This book about Mothers and Daughters and Grandaughters would be great! These photos are very beautiful, too.

I don't remember when, but I saw some years ago a film with this plot, maybe it's the same film. Very interesting indeed. And what a irony, they hired another actress
to do the role! Yes, this fact express the mentality of Hollywood.

This is another great post, Naomi.

Have a nice and happy weekend!

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You are right so typical Hollywood.
I can't wait to see more photographs and hear more stories.
Have a great weekend Aunty Em :)

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 2:27:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh I remember that episode well. What beautiful pictures. Hope you still do that book it would be even better now. Michele thinks so too.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 3:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A wonderful tribute. Very interesting.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 5:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I read this earlier and didn't post becuase...well, I forgot! LOL I think someone stole your idea, because I think there is a book out like that now. Michele sent me back, but you know I am here all the time! :)

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 5:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That was actually a great idea for a book. A photographer around here shot "triptychs," where he chronicled working class families in thee photograps spanned years apart. It was actually great material.



here via michele today.
p

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 5:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great pictures and an interesting post! I'll be anxious to see and hear. Thanks for visiting me, you polite blogger you! ;)

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 5:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I stumbled on to your blog and am absolutely hooked. Your photographs are beautiful. Looking forward to more to come.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 6:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

The photos are such a great idea.
I love Maxine's curly hair, and OMG! that is one of the most famous & memorable episodes of the Twilight Zone!
(Next to William Shatner and the gremlin on the airplane wing.)
In fact I caught a few episodes of the Twilight zone a few months ago and that was one of them. It still scares me.
How strange to know the story now, and that they changed actresses. That sucks!

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 7:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post! I can't wait to hear more about this.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 7:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I remember that episode of "The Twilight Zone!" One of my favorites!

What a beautiful idea for a book...you could still do it you know?! I think it would be lovely to see your photos in a book!

*hugs*

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 7:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, you reached down deep into the recesses of my memory with that one. I DO remember that episode of Twilight Zone. I can't believe that they would give her the role and then hire someone else to do the "unveiling". That is a greater lesson than the original meaning!

You should have done that book first!

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 9:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

~sniffles~

I am really touched by your post and the photos you shared.

(((Hugs)))

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 1:10:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't see the resemblance between Chrissy and Maxine, Naomi, but I've never been very good at that sort of thing anyway. Just not a people person, I guess.

Father/son type of books don't bring much interest, even to me, but mother/daughter do. It's interesting how we process information regarding the genders differently. There just seems to be a more "mystic" connection amongst women.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 1:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

oops. Michele sent me this time, Naomi.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 1:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That was one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever! I still remember the impact it had on me... gosh, it had to be 30 or 35 years ago now! Thanks for the memories - yours and mine!

~Mike

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 3:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You mean this a picture of mother and daughter? Their resemblance is perfect. Good picture and well taken.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 6:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The Eye Of The Beholder

one of my favourite Twilight zone episodes, maybe because I have a condition that does leave me "different" looking to the mainstream of scoiety...never considered that !

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:05:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

When I was born, (and until I was 10 years old) we had 5 generations of women alive in my family...and yes, we took a million pictures of that. As a child at the time, you don't understand what all the fuss is about....but now that i'm grown, I cherish those photos. How fun if we could have been published! When I was born:

My mom was 21
My gramma was 40
My great gramma was 57
My great great gramma was 77

Thanks for sparking my memory!

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:07:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Each time I come here via Michele I am amazed at what a treasuretrove of stories and interesting friends you have. I agree with the comment that your vision is different, I love that second photo of Maxine and her daughter and would so buy this book if other photographs and short stories of them were included. Please reconsider!

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:25:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

These are great pictures!! And the book would be wonderful!!

Still here via Michele!

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

absolutely gorgeous women, pictures, and what a wonderful story to share!

michele sent me.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hello there! You and your daughter look gorgeous in that picture. Very nice and also happy Sunday to you

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:21:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

Here from Michele this time.
I remember that episode, quite scary when you look at the deeper meaning.
These pictures are great and they DO look so much alike. You might want to consider going ahead with the book, especially with the memories and thoughts by the people themselves.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:34:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hey OOLOTH,

Those scrolling pictures on my blog you asked about were created with Filmloop, if you want to check it out.

www.filmloop.com

Thanks for the comment. My kids liked the trip to DC, as did my wife and I. Great town.

p

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

yeah i was skimmed reading lol! anyways, I read it clearly now and you captured it quite nicely. You should have continued with the book. I am also writing a fantast-adventure book but i got stucked to chapter 3 yet. Hopefully I can finish it

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post, I love the photograph's you've shown us they're beautiful!

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 11:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for visiting my blog. I'd been here a few times and I'm SO glad I found you again. I've now added you to my favorites.
LOVED this post....your photographs are spectacular! I'd still attempt that book, if I were you. It's such a universal theme.
Didn't see that episode of Twilight Zone...but wow, that sure does say it all, doesn't it?
I'll be back soon and look forward to more photos.
http://www.islandwriter.net

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 1:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi,
As I said before, I'm very grateful to have found you. I'm always knocked over by your breadth of knowledge and information. My world has been very small compared to yours! Albeit, I delight in hearing your experiences. You have much to share and I appreciate it!

Thanks for the comment on my site. Auntie Tob really appreciated it. by the way, are you MOT?
Best,
lucyd

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 2:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hummmm, Darling Old Lady,
Let's play a game. Do any of your readers know if they're MOT? I still think you are. (Though you're adorable either way!) Let's see who knows!
love,
the eversysteriouslucyd

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 2:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Good evening, Naomi. Michele sent me back. I hope that you have had a great weekend!

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 5:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

what a great idea......
nice post
over from the other Michele's today

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 6:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I think your photos are stunning, and I also think that the book idea is a wonderful one. It may have been done before, but your thoughts and stories about people have always been so interestingly insightful. You should reconsider and do it. And when you do, I'll be crossing my fingers that you'll autograph a copy for me.

I remember that Twilight Zone episode. That was such a tremendous show. I haven't seen it in ages, and now you have me wanting to see those old favorites again. I wonder if it's available on DVD??

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 6:25:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I look forward to seeing more photos - but really, is it too late to pursue the vision? Why not give it a go?

Lovely post as usual. Makes me reflect upon my own relationships. Not only whether or not I look like my mother (I do) or if my daughter looks like me (she does) but how much like we are in personality, temperment and so forth. The comforting thing (or scary) is that our similarities don't just end with our looks. Thanks for making me stop to remember that.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 7:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Lovely post Naomi! I loved the pictures of mother and daughter. They do resemble very much. That would have been a great book!

Looking forward to your next post.

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 8:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

a great post - and one of my favorite twilight zone episodes too by the way

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 8:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Darling Naomi,
Close, but no cigar. MOS would have been used by movie moguls who were, almost exclusively, MOTs. Think of your great, great, great, great,great-great grandparents... They were MOTS too.
It doesn't matter, of course, but the Octogenarian and I were discussing this today on his blog.
More mystery!!:)
lucyd

Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 9:23:00 PM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

I love pictures of different generations in one! I like the way you did them in b/w, very interesting concept for a book! show us more! I have my mom's nose but my dad's bone structure so I am thin unlike my mom...

Monday, May 8, 2006 at 12:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Your pictures are so beautiful! There's a quiet intimacy to them. Very special. Thanks for sharing.

Monday, May 8, 2006 at 3:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, thanks for visiting me (via Michele). Your blog is wonderful and the book idea would still be great, spanning the years with these women. Very nice images. :)

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 1:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That is certainly Holywood irony at its most profound. Great photographs, and a great idea for a photo project.

I remember that episode of the Twilight Zone very well.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 2:29:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

wonderful post, and neat idea for a book.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 9:51:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous joared
had this to say:

The "Twilight Zone" episode you describe is one of my favorites. Interesting to learn the back story after all these years. What a classic Hollywood "beauty" story, she said sarcastically!

Agree with your assessment of your friend, Lee Grant's talent. She has been one of the actresses who could cause me to consider viewing anything in which she might appear. I knew that, generally, at least the character she played would be well performed.

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 11:51:00 PM PDT 

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