All the Presidents' Men by Rebecca Sittler

Issue 59

All the Presidents’ Men combines images made in presidential museums and historic sites across the United States with images from my father and grandfather's homes. In 1959, after a spontaneous, all night road trip, my 18-year-old father and a friend met former president Harry Truman out for an early morning walk on the streets of Independence, Missouri. My father doesn’t remember what they talked about, only the thrill of meeting a “gracious” and “unassuming” man. More than 50 years later, I visited Richard Nixon’s presidential museum in California, where I recognized my father’s nostalgic yearnings in the objects, images and exhibition designs. However, I also noticed that the visual displays showed little evidence of the restlessness and uncertainty that have shaped my father’s generation and characterized Nixon’s legacy. History is made of a multitude of stories that are continually reified, reconfigured, remembered, lost or forgotten, but never visible as a whole. In this series, sections of museum displays are isolated to partially suspend their illustrative function and suggest other emotive, personal or narrative dimensions that complicate the intended message. I am intrigued by an increasingly visual and immersive museum environment and its effect on the stories we tell about our personal and political lives. Paradoxically, these familiar masculine mythologies persist, despite our awareness of the tenuous grasp they hold on the complexities of history and the multifaceted lives of men.

Rebecca Sittler lives and works in Long Beach, CA.
To view more of Rebecca's work, please visit her website.

You can purchase a photograph by Rebecca Sittler from the Fraction Editions.

  Resolute Reflection (Plains, GA) 

Resolute Reflection (Plains, GA) 

  Open Road Stetson (Austin, TX)

Open Road Stetson (Austin, TX)

  Gliders (Independence, MO) 

Gliders (Independence, MO) 

  Before & After (Beaver Crossing, NE) 

Before & After (Beaver Crossing, NE) 

  Picket Fence (Yorba Linda, CA) 

Picket Fence (Yorba Linda, CA) 

  American Scorecard (Grand Island, NE) 

American Scorecard (Grand Island, NE) 

  Oxfords (Simi Valley, CA) 

Oxfords (Simi Valley, CA) 

  The Speaker (Simi Valley, CA) 

The Speaker (Simi Valley, CA) 

  Magic Camera Riot (Grand Rapids, MI) 

Magic Camera Riot (Grand Rapids, MI) 

  2005 in 2011 (Grand Island, NE) 

2005 in 2011 (Grand Island, NE) 

  Fenced Couple (Simi Valley, CA) 

Fenced Couple (Simi Valley, CA) 

  Newsreel Narrator (Simi Valley, CA) 

Newsreel Narrator (Simi Valley, CA) 

  Great and Famous (Independence, MO)

Great and Famous (Independence, MO)

  The Brothers (Abilene, KS) 

The Brothers (Abilene, KS) 

  Elder Statesman (West Branch, IA) 

Elder Statesman (West Branch, IA) 

  The Line (College Station, TX) 

The Line (College Station, TX) 

  Fireside (Abilene, KS) 

Fireside (Abilene, KS) 

  Memory Box (Grand Island, NE) 

Memory Box (Grand Island, NE) 

  Twinkle (Grand Island, NE) 

Twinkle (Grand Island, NE) 

  Decision Room (Independence, MO) 

Decision Room (Independence, MO)