above: Susan Drucker, “Benjamin Wood Fairbanks and Douc Langur. China. 1880.” Pencil, eraser. 2017

Susan Drucker, “Marianne Jones Fairbanks and Marmoset. India. 1882.” Pencil, eraser, ink. 2016.

These drawings are part of an on-going book project based on reimagined family photos. A “picture book for all ages”, it will track the lineage of my family over four generations along with their imagined animal companions. The book will resemble a photo album, with each image captioned by names, dates, places, and occasional notes.

Susan Drucker, “Gladys and Gorilla. Montclair, NJ. 1901.” Pencil, eraser. 2017

The focal point of the book will be my great-grandparents, Charlotte and Frank. I imagine Charlotte’s parents (Benjamin and Marianne) traveling internationally during the 1870’s, eventually bringing back the first generation of animal companions: a gorilla, two golden tamarins, a douc langur, a spider monkey, a secretary bird, and a giraffe.

Susan Drucker, “Frank and Spider Monkey. Montclair, NJ. 1908.” Pencil, eraser. 2016

Charlotte, and later Frank, will develop unique relationships with these animals, as will their children (Gladys and Jack), and their grandchildren (Nancy and Chips).

Susan Drucker, “Jack and Secretary Bird. Montclair, NJ. 1910.” Pencil, eraser. 2016

Susan Drucker, “Pop Dutch and Nana. Casanovia. NY. 1920.” Pencil, eraser. 2016

I hope that the eventual addition of names for each animal (which I have yet to pinpoint) will help illuminate their profound “humanity”, as well as make the details and longevity of the human/animal relationships more clear. I have taken great pleasure in portraying the amazing presence of animals — both real and imagined — in our collective lives.

Susan Drucker, “Frank, Charlotte, and Tamarin. Bay Head, NJ. 1931.” Pencil, eraser. 2018

Susan Drucker, “Nancy and Giraffe. Casanovia, NY. 1934.” Pencil, eraser, ink. 2017

Please note that all images are works in progress.

Susan Drucker