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.