Why Are You Standing There?

Who are these girls and why are they standing on the lawn?

This month we're taking our inspiration from an artsy new book by the same duo who wrote and illustrated the fantastic YA novel, Why We Broke Up. Daniel Handler, of course, is better known as Lemony Snicket. Maira Kalman is an artist and illustrator who's done everything from children's picture books to album covers.

Girls Standing on Lawns was inspired by a handful of candid photographs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. Just girls, standing on lawns. But Handler and Kalman began to wonder, who were these girls? What were the stories behind the poses? Where did they live? And what do these pictures say about us, about changing fashions and the passing of time? What will our pictures say about us one day?

Try this writing exercise: grab a copy of Girls Standing on Lawns, browse through the library's photography books or dig through your old family photos and find an image of a person that intrigues you. Then set the timer and write for ten minutes. Who is this person? What year do you think the picture was taken? What are they wearing and why? What do they like or dislike? Where are they going next after this picture is taken? Send us what you come up with (and a scan of the photo you picked) and we'll post it here on the blog!

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