The Grandfather Trilogy | Chicago Reader

The Grandfather Trilogy

In this 1981 trilogy, Allen Ross creates a deeply humane portrait of his grandfather and family, pacing his long, static takes to replicate the grandfather's halting rhythms. His startling images make awkwardness and emptiness almost palpable: he photographs his grandfather's face with the camera rotated 90 degrees to the left, destabilizing him, and a long take of the family seated around a TV reminds us how the elder has lost his central place in the household. Though Ross graduated from the School of the Art Institute, there's something endearingly naive about his style, as if he believed that staring at something would somehow reveal its truths. But his stare was always a bit askew, which rescues and even ennobles imagery that might otherwise be mundane or sentimental.

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