ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – When Jeff Phillips bought a box of old slides at a garage sale, he had no idea the adventure he’d begun.
“They’re all composed similarly and that alone kind of raised the flag and peaked my interest as to what this photographer was doing.” said Photographer Jeff Phillips.
Turns out it was a husband and wife traveling all over the world in the 1950’s and photographing each other along the way and they followed these strict rules of composition in most cases. Phillips, a Chicago based photographer, filled in the frames with his own theories. But, when he took his one thousand abandoned slides to facebook, he found some answers.
“I started posting one image per day on Facebook and created a site called “Is this your Mother.” I invited a few friends and let it be.” said Jeff Phillips.
He thought it’d take five years for an answer, instead it was just three weeks.
“There’s pictures that show them in the state of Alaska in 1959 when it became the 49th state. So how adventursome is that. I had no idea that my great aunt and uncle were just absolutely right out there on the edge doing some cool things in the 50’s.” said Harry & Edna’s Great Niece Carol Felzien.
It was an online search party that discovered the identity of Harry and Edna Grossman, formerly of Frontenac. Not only did social media solve the mystery of who Harry and Edna really were, but when it came time to decided which photos to use for this exhibit Jeff turned to his Facebook fans and let the internet decide.
For his unique exhibit that opens tomorrow at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Phillips is including the posts from perfect strangers who had their own interpretations of these pictures.
“It’s phenomenal to see what people thought was going on in these photos versus when we found the truth later.” said Photographer Jeff Phillips.
Which is entertaining for Edna and Harry’s real life family.
“And really Jeff is giving them an opportunity to continue to travel. So I can’t wait to see where they go next.” said Harry & Edna’s Great Niece Carol Felzien.
The adventure continues for this couple that were lost and found again.