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Maggie Steber

Photographer Maggie Steber: The value of family photo albums

"You never realize how valuable these things are, and sometimes it’s really all you have left of somebody," Photographer Maggie Steber explains about family photo albums. Growing up in a household estranged from her extended family, most of what Steber knew about her personal history came from such old photographs. As her mother began to lose her memory, her family photo albums "became real treasures" as Steber not only used them to help her mother retain memory, but also those albums kept an image of her family permanent.

"Only a photograph can show you what your mother looked like when she was 20, when the moonlight fell on her face in just a way that maybe her skin glowed," says Steber.

To hear more about Maggie Steber, listen to a podcast of The Story from American Public Media about her project documenting her mother's dementia: thestory.org/archive/the_story_144__Waving_At_Strangers.mp3/view

Maggie Steber's work appears regularly in National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, Smithsonian, The Guardian of London and many other American and European publications. Her photographs are included in numerous museum and private collections including the Library of Congress. She has served as judge for World Press Photo Foundation and the Alicia Patterson Foundation as well as for other photographic and competitions.

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