A deeply personal project about the brittleness of family ties in the face of modern life and death by Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker Brandon Tauszik (previously featured here). Brandon’s grandmother, Shirley Tauszik, had been estranged from the family and living alone for three decades when she passed away in 2020. In the aftermath, Brandon and his father Lowell were tasked with sorting through the contents of fifteen wooden storage vaults in a storage facility in rural Massachusetts.
Amidst piles of battered furniture, unread books, stockpiled toilet paper, and expired medications, Brandon documents the contemporary rituals of death as he watches his father physically grapple with his grandmother’s belongings. While personal possessions are usually passed down through the family with a sense of reverence, the project confronts us with a reality where no such feelings are found. “If we were looking for significance in those sealed boxes,” Brandon states, “we found only junk.” And yet, despite the lack of expected sentimentality, Brandon and Lowell do find is a sense of connection and catharsis — forging a deeper bond as father and son, and opening up a dialogue around legacies of mental illness, abandonment, and the remedial power of love.