Sylvia & Me
Sylvia & Me
Jona Frank: Author ‘Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined’, Photographer, Balancing Reality and Fantasy

The debut of our special Thursday’s segment ‘Sylvia & Me – My Reading Corner’ with author and portrait photographer, Jona Frank. Known for her portraits surrounding youth culture, Jona made a slight detour and wrote a memoir. Not one for doing what is expected, Jona’s memoir is done not with words, but with photographs. But if you’re thinking, great, a book of old photos…you’re wrong. ‘Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined´ stars Laura Dern as her mother.

Jona grew up in the 60’s in suburban Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Her mother lived the life that a suburban housewife was supposed to live. The men went into the City, a grey background while the women stayed at home, tending to their house and family. The stereotypical suburban woman, Jona’s mother never deviated from the standards that had been set for her. She did what was expected of her, not what she may have wanted to do. But Jona rejected this way of life and went on to construct her life from within herself. The result –  Jona is living her life freely, rejecting the standards that others have set.

Meet Jona Frank:

Meet Jona Frank, whose high school passion for photography led her to study at the University of California on a scholarship. Jona did go home after graduating, but returned to Los Angeles pursuing her personal dreams, not other’s expectations and standards.

Her works have been exhibited at such venues as the Smithsonian’s National Gallery in Washington, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Kimbal Art Center.

Our conversation:

  • A photo shoot in a small town in England and a connection with Cherry Hill
  • Suburbia and the stereotypical woman
  • Art class, a blank piece of paper, a phone call and tulips
  • Doing it her own way
  • Societal norms and individual desires
  • Casting Laura Dern
  • Staged pictures and the strain of maintaining an image
  • Recreating the non-Kodak moments
  • Creating images between reality and cinematic fantasy
  • What’s next