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Cherry Hill. A Childhood Reimagined. Photographs by Jona Frank. Contributions by Imogene Wolodarsky and Laura Dern.

Cherry Hill.

A Childhood Reimagined.

Photographs by Jona Frank. Contributions by Imogene Wolodarsky and Laura Dern.
The Monacelli Press, 2020. In English. 368 pp., 6¾xx1¼".

Publisher's Description

A memoir by photographic artist Jona Frank told in captivating stories and poignant images with a cast of actors, including Laura Dern and Imogene Wolodarsky, Cherry Hill tells the story of one girl's suburban youth and deliverance.

Cherry Hill is a multimedia memoir of photographic artist Jona Frank's upbringing in--and flight from--a stifling suburban household. Told in words and evocative photographs, Frank's account of her childhood struggles with a repressive mother, mentally ill brother, and overwhelming expectations is leavened with episodes from her rich interior world.

Akin to a graphic novel, this hybrid of personal essay and photography breaks open the memoir format, detailing the life of a young artist as she spends her days dreaming of a friendship with Emily Dickinson, longing for Bruce Springsteen and eschewing the rules of femininity. Frank employs a cinematic approach to construct vivid scenes from her youth. Using elaborately dressed sets, era-specific wardrobes, and multiple actors to portray herself as a child, Frank refashions her memories into vibrant tableaux. Strikingly, Frank cast Academy Award-winning actor Laura Dern in the role of her strict and complicated mother in a performance as bravura as her film and television work.

As Frank outgrows the confines of her environment and suffocating domestic life, discovering art and photography as the path to her personal fulfillment, she plots her ultimate escape. A unique photographic storytelling project reminiscent of such classics as Fun Home and The Best We Could Do, Cherry Hill is an intimate self-portrait of what it takes to break free of convention and answer the question, "Who am I meant to be?"

Reviewed by Kim Beil on photo-eye Blog.


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