Previous month:
April 2008
Next month:
June 2008

May 2008


Here are some beauties from a 1931 Frigidaire booklet. According to the Frigidaire website, 1931 was the year freon was introduced as a refrigerant. Previously refrigerators had depended on ammonia and methyl chloride and sufor dioxide which proved fatal in several accidents. Freon, it turned out, wasn't so great either, since the chlorofluorocarbons destroy the ozone layer. See .

For more information on the history of refrigerators, The History Channel has some good stuff. Including that the ice trade between Boston and the South was one of the first casualties of the Civil War, and then warm winters in 1889 and 1890 created severe shortages of natural ice in the US which stimulated the invention, commercialization and marketing of mechanical refrigeration for fish and for the brewing, dairy and meat industries. Home refrigerators came later, in 1911. According to frozen food storage at home didn't become widely used until the 1940's, so the freezer shown below must have been a luxury- even more so than refrigerators - although they had been introduced in the 1920's. You can see in the Frigidaire post below from 1925 that there are ice freezing compartments.

Frigidaire 1931 booklet cover
1931 Frigidaire booklet. Collection PSAW

This is the cover. It follows the theme of mothers and daughters (or sometimes sons, but not as often) standing in front of the wonderful refrigerator. Mothers nurture and feed. And they teach their daughters that they will be doing so for their own offspring. And nothing says loving like a full fridge. Polemics aside, isn't this a gorgeous, compelling illustration. Beautifully rendered to display the warmth and joy of a happy home. I love how the mother and daughter are bathed in a pool of light, the daughter quietly contemplates the new appliance, which you can tell even from behind, while the mother lovingly and casually enjoys her daughter's attitude.

Liza cowan ephemera collections frigidaire 1931
frigidaire 1931. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

Chilled puddings. A marvel of modern mechanics. It looks like the girl is eating an apple, and the boy is drinking a glass of milk, so I'm betting that Mom made the treats for dessert and is putting them away, rather than taking them out. Maybe it's Jell-O.

Frigidaire 1931 booklet women and salesman
The salesman shows off his wares to....the wives. Somehow the husbands are not in on the decision making here. We can make believe that the two women shopping actually live together rather than with husbands,but we would most likely be imposing a 21st century narrative on an seventy year old moment in history.

If part of the job of advertising is to teach people class behaviors, usually just slightly above the class they are actually in, this one teaches the smooth elegance of shopping in your best clothing, listening quietly, and paying attention to the authority of the salesman in a beautifully appointed showroom. In my own Jewish upper middle class New York City childhood in the 1950's, we always had to dress up to go shopping. Although my mother encouraged me to wear dungarees for play at home and in the park, if we were going out to a restaurant or to a store or on a trip we always had to wear "nice" clothes. My brothers had to wear ties if they were going four blocks from home, unless it was to the park for sports.

Frigidaire 1931 booklet two women
In an alternate universe, the women come home to their new fridge. In the 1931 advertising universe, however, the wife who just bought the Frigidaire is showing it off to her friend. Part of the appeal of the new appliance is that it excites admiration and perhaps even envy from one's friends and neighbors, which is always rather satisfying. 

Frigidaire 1931 booklet celery

 This picture, in my opinion, could be featured in the Museum Of Modern Art. A perfect modernist study of form, line and color.

Frigidaire ice cowan ephemera collectionsations
Lovely, cold ice. At your fingertips. It must have seemed miraculous, really, and so different from having ice delivered for your ice box. Or, if you remember Almanzo in Laura Ingall's Wilder's Farmer Boy, it took three grown men (Father and his two French Canadian hired men), plus Almonzo and his older brother an full, long day to cut the ice from the frozen pond, haul it to the ice house, and pack it tight in sawdust. "Buried in the sawdust, the blocks of ice would not melt in the hottest summer weather. One at a time they would be dug out, and Mother would make ice-cream and lemonade and cold egg-nog."

Frigidaire large golf

Ah, so that's where the men were. Off playing golf. Well, never mind. They've come home for brunch, and the wives got on just fine, making some big financial decisions with enough time left over to make a chilled punch. And here comes the ice, fresh from the freezer.


Frigidaire 1931 Cowan Ephemera Collections
Frigidaire, 1931

And now, back to the daily day. Making a pie with those eggs and butter? Maybe a ham pie? Because, of course, the ubiquitous ham is sitting there waiting. What a well fed family. How happy they are.

PS: I found another great web essay from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Cara Barer is one of my favorite photographers. She has had two solo shows at Pine Street Art Works in the past two years and now I have the pleasure of introducing her work to shoppers at Healthy Living Natural Foods. As some of you know, I curate exhibits at Healthy Living, which is  a great place to buy all fabulous foods, local, regional and imported, as well as totally groovy accessories.

Cara barer at healthy living 2 blog
Melaney and Scott at Healthy Living with Cara Barer photos.

Cara barer butterfly 2
Cara Barer, Butterfly 2. Available through Pine Street Art Works

Cara barer at healthy living 1 blog

Cara barer roget's
Cara Barer Roget's available through Pine Street Art Works

Cara barer flurry
Cara Barer, Flurry, available through Pine Street Art Works

Cara has a new blog  -  yay! Cara, so be sure to check out her blog and stop in to say "hi" in a comment.

Cara barer bound to please  
Cara Barer, Winston's on the cover of  Bound To Please, essays on American Writers and their books.

Cara's exhibit will be at Healthy Living until June 6th. The next artist will be Richard Gombar, for the rest of June, after which his work will go up a Pine Street Art Works.


Kitchen ads from the Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Kitchen, nairn linoleum 1925 liza cowan ephemera collections
"Bellflor seems almost too lovely for the kitchen" Nai Linoleum, 1925 Good Housekeeping

"The kitchen, where you spend so much of your time, should be just as attractive in its own fashion, as any room in the house"

Doesn't she look happy, all alone, perched on a stool wiping the dishes? 

The kitchen as living room theme is repeated in this ad:

Kitchen, hotpoint 1956 Liza Cowan ephemera collections
1956 Hotpoint Ad from Better Homes And Gardens. "Enjoy a living room kitchen."

"Just think of creating a kitchen exactly as you want it - a center for family activities, entertainment - yet completely equipped with modern electric appliances."

This happy homemaker has her daughter for company, at least after school. Maybe the daughter is scheming and plotting her eventual escape from the world of household economy.


Kitchen, american gas association sat eve post 1949 Liza Cowan Ephemera collections
American Gas Association 1949 Saturday Evening Post

Probably it's the yellow and blue and the view outside, but this kitchen always makes me happy. Face it, even though I've been a feminist, media/cultural theorist, patriarchy resister for my entire adult life, the Picard as borg all- gobbling woman=home paradigm grabbed me as strongly as anyone. "Resistance is Futile" and patriarchy might as well be The Borg. That's how strong it is. Now think about people who never even imagine resisting!  Yep, that's why ads work so well to sell us the product, the lifestyle, the paradigm.

I joke that resistance is futile. Of course if you engage your brain at every moment you can think your way to another way of looking at the world. Nevertheless, I'm a sucker for these ads directed at women, engineered to create a world of consuming, serving wives and daughters. Partially because it is virtually the only mainstream representation of a world of women, partially because the brainwashing worked so thoroughly that this world feels "natural"  and partially, or so I argue to myself, the images are really wonderful. So, here come some more.


Kitchen,norge 1944 BH&G liza cowan ephemera collections
Norge, 1944 Better Homes & Gardens

Norge, 1944 Better Homes & Gardens

This is a wartime ad. The woman is making the purchasing decisions alone, possibly for the first time. She turns to her Norge Dealer for advice.

 "All over the country Norge dealers are working for today by helping their customers through this difficult period when the purchase of new household appliances is restricted. They are preaching the doctrine of conservation - of better care, less repair, they are suggesting ways and means of prolonging the life of valued equipment... Norge dealers of all types...are planning for that great day when their showrooms will again be filled..."

Norge detail liza cowan ephemera collections
Norge, detail



Kitchen,stove GE 1945 Good Housekeeping liza cowan ephemera collections
GE 1945 Good Housekeeping

Mother, mother in law, neighbor? It's important to have her approval.

Kitchen,stove GE 1945 detail liza cowan ephemera collections
GE 1945 detail

It's important to have her approval for the appliances because of what they say about how good a housekeeper/wife you are. The borders of femininity are patrolled not so much by men, but by other women.


Kitchen,magic chef 1939 old biddies liza cowan ephemera collections
Magic Chef, 1939 Saturday Evening Post

Magic Chef, 1939 Saturday Evening Post

"1. Gadding around all sakes! Her poor husband probably eats his dinner right out of a can, and her house must be a sight!"

"2. I know my duty when I see it. I called on that new Mrs Jones next day, to tell her a wifes' place is in the kitchen. But did she surprise me!"

"3. Neat as a pin her kitchen was, with a bright, shiny new gas range. Seems it all but cooks by itself! That girl's not lazy...she's smart!"

"4. 'I'm ashamed' I told susan. 'Just think how long I've slaved over my old range! Fiddlesticks! come on. let's do something about it!' "



In a recent comment about Jello ads,  David Apatoff wrote:

It's funny... this week on Leif Peng's Today's Inspriation blog he showed illustrations for U.S. Steel which used a highly attractive spokeswoman standing around construction sites talking about all of the important applications for steel. She obviously had no connection whatsoever to the product, and everyone had a big laugh about what dopes men are, and how easy they are to manipulate.

Now I am looking at your ads for Jello and I see wedding gowns and handsome husbands, which again have no connection whatsoever to the product. I would hate to think that women are as easy to manipulate as men...

First of all, you should all check out David's blog, Illustration Art, and Leif's blog. Today's Inspriation.  I read them both daily and highly recommend them. But on to an answer, as relevent here about refrigerators as it is about Jello.

Of course women are as easy to manipulate as men. Otherwise advertising wouldn't work. Because what they are really selling isn't product, but values. Advertisers sell products by selling values. For men, the value is masculinity: the appeal to masculinity is through heteronormative sex, i.e. pretty girls, or other forms of masculinized behaviour, such as beer drinking, or driving cars. Or supporting a family, being a protector, provider etc.

Advertising appeals to women through values like family, home, frailty and beauty. Not that these need to be values associated with women, (or with men)  but advertising is one of the most effective venues for creating femininity and masculinity. In short, advertising works to sell product, but more important, it works to sell culturally shaped masculinity and femininity. And until we learn how to read advertising critically, we are all suceptible to it. Even then, it's hard to resist.

Frigidaire 1925 blog
Frigidaire 1925. Showing off the new fridge. Notice how little food is actually in it. This looks more like the inside of my fridge. My children often accuse me of only having condiments, which isn't exactly true, but they'd be happy if I'd always stock up on puddings, ice cream and cake. Real foods like vegetables, fruit and yoghurt don't count.

Refridge gurney 1925 blog  
Gurney, 1925. Still not much food in the fridge. Enough, but not crammed.

Frigidairedr storage 1940 sat ev e post blog
frigidaire 1940. Why would you put canned food in the fridge? Isn't the point of canning that it doesn't need refrigeration? After it's open, don't you put it in another container that has a lid? I guess it doesn't matter to the folks who live in ad land, since they put slabs of unwrapped meat right on the fridge shelf.

Frigidaire 1948 H&G blog
 Another stuffed fridge. Meats, puddings, cake, milk, frozen food, salads. The milk is still in glass bottles.

Refrigerator norge grandma 1946 good housekeeping blog
Norge 1946. An abundance of unwrapped food, including what looks like a ham and a roast.

Fridge GE wall 1948 blog
GE 1948. Even more food, including the ham, a whole turkey, puddings, fruit, frozen foods, milk in cartons.What is is about the hams that seem to be in every fridge? They must be fun to draw, or they are thought to be very recognizable. I suppose they didn't consider the market segment that kept kosher.

Frige H&G femineered 1954
international harvester 1954. "Femineered" I love that. She gets to decorate the outside.

Frigidaire guy 1933 blog

Frigidaire 1933. This is one of the very few fridge ads I've seen featuring a man, but notice that he's not going to prepare a meal, he's just grabbing a few beers. That's better than yelling, "Hey hon, get me a brew" but still...


I've been collecting kitchen ads for about twenty years, on and off. Mainly I have refrigerators, sinks and stoves.  I've just started to scan them. Of course, I love the illustrations and the cultural history, but what I think I love most about kitchen ads is seeing all the food in the refrigerators. You'll see, as we get further into the collection, just how abundant the food is, and how it's never wrapped.

Frigidaire moist cold compartment 1040
Frigidaire, 1940, detail. Saturday Evening Post. PSAW ephemera collection

Frigidaire super moist 1940
Frigidaire, 1940.  Detail The Saturday Evening Post. PSAW ephemera collection

Frigidaire, the chilling coils
When you get such a fridge as this, you must invited the girls over for a look see.

Frigidaire 1948
Just how big is the family, one wonders.

Frigidaire twins
Frigidaire. Detail

Frigidaire twins laundry
Frigidaire. detail.


My older daughter has wanted a pug for years. I finally gave in, after she kept her promise of taking care of the daily needs of #1 dog for six months.

Stella and liza blog
This is #1 dog, Stella. She's a mini long haired doxie.

Saki blog
Backup auxilliery dog (kidding) Saki. She's just eight weeks old.

Her full name is Sakura, which the kids picked, but I'd wanted to name her Saki after the only pug I ever knew, who was the pet of my childhood friend Susu. The kids are doing a great job with her, but guess who is getting up at 4:30 in the morning to take her out in the yard? Right. I have a vested interest in not washing piles of soiled sheets every day.

Anybody out there have a pug? Do you worry about them playing with other dogs? Advise? The eye issue. Those adorable bulgy eyes are very prone to injury.


From the Liza Cowan archive:

I took these photographs from June 1999 to July, 2001, in Greenport, a small town on the end of the north fork of Long Island, NY. Greenport is an old whaling port as well as the site of a shipping industry that waned after its large role in W.W.II.

Liza cowan, shipyard archeology, ship hull, turquoise, rust, zinc,

Poster for a showing of Shipyard Archeology. June 2002. The photo is "Zinc"


The Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding Company sits on the bay, tucked away just behind the vibrant and modestly upscale center of this tourist town. The beauty of the shipyard is complex and fascinating. The details I focus on show the effects of time and weather on the human made objects and the landscape that surrounds them. The industrial objects I was shooting were becoming more beautiful as they were exposed to the elements. As the usefulness of each thing leaked out, as the object evolved, or devolved from its state of creation, it became more of an artifact , more purely form. This process is exaggerated by the abstract vision of my pictures.

View to miss N, liza cowan photograph, greenport NY, ship, old window, harbor

View To Miss N. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2000

The objects tell stories. Beyond the biological story of rust, corrosion, and oxidation, is the human story. Industrial practices change. What we need and how we buy and sell has an impact on the life of a town. Prohibition is over and there are no more rum runners. We no longer need whale oil. Gasoline tankers mercifully do not stop on the peconic bay. Nor do war ships.

Icy handle, liza cowan photograph, greenport ny, shipyard,

Icy Handle. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2000

Many things made of wood, steel and glass that were once state of the art are now outstripped by microchips and polymers. Nevertheless, fishingpeople still haul their catches in wooden boats, the little ferries still chug across the bay, tankers haul their cargo.

Blue rudder, liza cowan photograph, shipyard, cobalt blue,

Blue Rudder. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2000

Welders weld, painters paint, machinists fix the cogs and wheels.

In:out, liza cowan photograph, shipyard archeology, old machine, greenport ny, ruins,

In/out. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2000

Ships that are showing the signs of age come in for a rehab and the process reverses. Old layers of paint are stripped off, corrosions are blasted and smoothed, metals are burnished. New paint goes on, new cogs and wheels are attached. Boats roll down back to the sea.

Foggy view to the bay, liza cowan photo, greenport ny, shipyard, fog, rust

Foggy View. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2000



Speaking of  ads, I designed a fake ad for Alison Bechdel in a competition she ran on her blog

This fall, Houghton Mifflin will publish The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For, a compendium of most of the episodes of, what?!! 25 years of the comic strip. In one book!! Wow.

The amazing marketing guy at Houghton Mifflin has a plan to promote the ESSENTIAL DTWOF to bookstores by producing a fake little 8 page tabloid newspaper from the world of the strip, like, with ads for stores and places that exist in the comic strip, and news stories about the characters and stuff. It’ll be a copy of The Daily Distress, the newspaper the characters read, so it’s a way of drawing people into the cartoon universe.
Alison Bechdel, from her blog, March 16, 2008

So Alison and Houghton Mifflin ran a little competition for articles and ads, and I am one of the winners.  Congratulations to all the other winners, as well.

You can be sure that Pine Street Art Works wil be selling the book, and don't forget we still have original drawings from Fun Home and from the strip for sale.

La lentil d'or blog
La lentille d'or ad
La Lentil D'Or ad by Liza Cowan for Alison Bechdel's The Daily Distress. Photo copyright Liza Cowan 2002


 I spend a fair amount of my work time designing ads, which you can only see if you live in Burlington. So here are some for your viewing pleasure. All the items in the ads are taken from the Pine Street Art Works collections, including a Chinese Checker Board, pottery by Paige Russell, vintage head vases, a detail of a FAKE! Liza Picasso, a Marx tin house, Shawnee cornware, Jello ephemera, Flashbags, a vintage postcard of Lake Champlain steamboat, The Ticonderoga (which now sits on dry land at The Shelburne Museum,) and a picture of my Grandma Lena.

I run this series of ads in The Burlington Free Press weekly supplement, The B Scene. I run ads for art shows in a number of regional periodicals, but for this series I decided to feature my artifacts & antiques collections. Does it bring customers? I don't know. They would bring me, but I'm already here.

Bscence 1 blog Bscence 2 blog Bscence 3 blog


Jello jack benny 1937 listen and laugh
1937 Jello Recipe booklet featuring radio stars Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone.

I'm going to be on the radio tomorrow, May 15th from 4 to 6 at on WGDR, the radio station of Goddard College. The show is called "Woman Stirred" hosted by Merry Gangemi.

They stream live, for your listening pleasure. You can find out about streaming on their website.

Quiz kids pin

Quiz Kids button, circa 1940. Yeah, that's my dad's radio show. The baby is modeled after my brother Paul.

I expect we will be talking about a range of topics from my checkered past and polka dot present. Woman Stirred Radio is mainly - but not exclusively - about Lesbian Culture so we will most likely talk about my lively history as a Lesbian rabble rouser. Yeah, I did Lesbian radio at WBAI in New York City in the 1970's, and published a Lesbian magazine, and etc etc.

I'm going to dress like this: you'll have to trust me on this one.

Radio ad carmen miranda

I also expect that we will be talking about art, artists, running a gallery, shopping local,  and stuff like that. Who knows, we may discuss fashion. Or Jello.

May I suggest you wear this kind of outfit for listening.
Radio ad philco 1940

Listen and Laugh.


Yesterday I posted a couple of details from Jello recipe books. I'm enamored of the way the details of the lithography breaks down into dot patterns. Here are some more.

Jello girl what 6 famous detail Jello Booklet, detail.
You can see that someone wrote over the "W" with pencil. People leave mysterious traces of themselves.

Jello girl red detail blog Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello a door hand detail Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Jello telephone detail
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello and hand detail blog
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello house jello built detail blog Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello girl gv Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello hands and letters Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Marbled jello Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Spanish jello detail blog Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Sew and stitch detail blog Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Sweetheart needle detail Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Needle detail head
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan

Needle face close
Needle Pack, detail

Needle girl face detail
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan.

Broadway needle face
Needle Pack, detail. made in japan

Broadway needle kitten close
Needle Pack, detail, made in Japan

Happy home needle book detail blog Needle pack, detail

Rolling chairs-women detail blogAtlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Rolling chairs-detail blog Atlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Corset-secret-open detail blog Corset trade card, detail

Diamond dyes detail blogDiamond Dyes Trade Card, detail

Eureka health corset detail blog Corset trade card, detail


Here are some more images from my Jello Ephemera Collection. We'll start with the 1916 recipe book, which is all about the new bride starting her family life with Jello.

Jello bride cover COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONSJello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello =their first dinner at home cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Though the honeymoon is not yet over and everything she does is still perfect, the young housewife who is no cook has gone through a period of awful trepidation while preparing that first dessert."

This was in the day when young ladies of a certain class didn't live alone before they were married, and most likely had household help doing the cooking.


Jello surprising father and mother blog

Jello recipe book. 1916, Liza Cowan ephemera collections.

"In her old home she had never been taught to cook, as so, when her father and mother, making their first visit to "the children"miss her from the room for a moment and then witness her triumphant return, bearing a tray with tea things and napkins and spoons for two, and two beautiful dishes of Jell-o upon it..."



Jello another caller blogJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Father and mother and other "company" have come and gone many times  before baby arrives, and the lovely bride, looking hardly a day older, has become a proficient housekeeper."


Jello bride centerfold COWan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book, 1916, centerfold. Cowan ephemera collections.

Jello -a treat for old schoolmates cowan ephemera collectionsJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

On this beautiful summer afternoon three of her schoolmates - all happily marries- gather at her home to live again their girlhood life and exchange confidences regarding the whims of their husbands and the cleverness of their babies..."

Jello girl schoolroom recipe book cowan ephemera collections


The Jello girl made her first appearance in 1904. She was Elizabeth King, whose father, Franklin King, was an artist at the ad agency that made the Jello Ads. The Jello girl remained a staple of Jello ads for forty years. She appears at the end of the Jello Bride Recipe Booklet, as well as on the front cover.

"Attention, children! Some day you will be buying groceries, and if they have continued to go up in price, you will do well to consider the cost of different articles of food."

Jello girl no matter where you live COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello girl what 6 famous cooks say of Jello cowan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book. 1912. Cowan ephemera collections



Jello girl all doors open cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. 1917. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello a door opens detail

Detail. Jello recipe book 1917. Cowan ephemera collection.

Look how beautifully the lithography tolerates enlargement.

Jello girl recipies new talks about jello americas most favorite dessert cowan ephemera collectionsJell-o Recipe book. 1918. Cowan ephemera collections.


Jello girl the kewpies  recipe book cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book, 1915. Cowan ephemera collections.



Jello america's favorite dessert cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. Date unknown. Cowan ephemera collections

This book has more gorgeous beautifully printed images than any other. And the copy I have is in brilliant shape. The rest of the images in this post are from this book.


Jello america's favorite detail blog

Jello vintage recipe book cowan ephemera collections orange

Jello girl raspbery




Jello house jello built COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello recipe booklet vintage centerfolCowan ephemera collections.




I decided to use this exquisite portrait of my granny for my new ad and card. Thanks to my fabulous cousin Barbara Linhart for giving me this photograph.

6a00e54fabf0ec883300e55223186c8834-800pi Ad for Pine Street Art Works, Summer 2008. Liza Cowan design

My grandmother died when I was three, so I never  really knew her. I don't even know if she liked to be called granny. Maybe she preferred grandmother, or Oma.  I guarantee you that she wouldn't have been called  Bubbie, which is what she would have been had we been Eastern European rather than German Jews. Whatever.  I've always felt like we had a special connection, so when my cousin gave me part of her collection of photos of Lena, granny, Oma, I was thrilled.

Here's one of her as a child.

Lena and Hattie.
Hattie and Lena Straus, sisters. Ligionier, Indiana

Lena Straus age 14
Lena Straus at 14. Ligionier, Indiana

Lena 1906
 Lena Straus Spiegel, 1906, in Chicago.

She was already a mother of two. And she looks so much like me, or rather, at this age I looked so much like her in this picture, that I get a shock every time I look at it. It's like someone has played a joke on me, and photoshopped my face into my granny's body. But that's not what happened. Its just our DNA.

Photobooth liza may '08
Liza Cowan, self portrait using iMac photobooth, May 2008

I don't know how old my grandmother was in the first picture, but probably within a decade of what I am now, which is almost 59. Here's me. I think most of the obvious similarity between us ended at about age 25.

Liza lena composite
But here's us together in a composite photograph. I did this on iMac photobooth, holding up the (folded) photo of grandma. We kind of match. I've never done this kind of composite before, and I don't know how unusual it is for the proportions to be so similar, but they are. In other words, our chins, mouths, noses and eyebrows line up pretty exactly. The portrait of Lena is almost three quarter view so the angle of the glasses is a bit off, but otherwise we line up. I think I'll have to try this technique with some other portraits of people who are not related to me and see what happens.