Michael Northrup’s Dream Away is a Haunting Portrait of Marriage
Relationships frequently end, but as you get older, you learn that love never really fades. In Dream Away, a book of 66 photographs recently published by Stanley/Barker, photographer Michael Northrup revisits images he took of his wife, Pam, before they divorced in 1988. “I did this book for Pam and me,” he told PDNedu. “I’ve never stopped caring about Pam and felt these images reflected that and needed daylight. I also did it to honor Pam and all she did to contribute to the making of these images.”
The images were taken over the span of Pam and Michael’s relationship, from when they first fell in love in 1976, through their wedding in 1978, the birth of their daughter, and eventually, their divorce. The finally image of the book shows Pam’s face blurry, as if the memory of her is already fading away. Even still, the photographs remain.
“Though our marriage failed I have always loved Pam. And I’ve had 30 years to comb through all the images of her. I’ve paused on some many times and let myself sink into them. And it is both happy and sad. To me my pictures are always a kind of affirmation and they’re really more about me than my subjects.”
Northrup relied on his editors at Stanley/Barker to do a final edit of the images. “I always say that I can take a picture but after that I have no idea what to do with it,” Northrup said. “I rely on others to open me up to my own work. I’m too close.”
The book is a haunting, gorgeous portrait of a love story that ends like most love stories — in a sort of tragedy. As to why Northrup chose to publish it now? “…A publisher finally found me. Would have done it anytime I could.”
To purchase the book, visit Stanley/Barker’s website.
Below is a selection of photographs from Dream Away. All images © Michael Northrup.