Herman (1920-2009)

Herman died last night (12.28.09) in a nursing home a week before his 90th birthday. We've been photographing him since 1986 and he was one of the four subjects of our One Million Years is Three Seconds film and book project. In 2006 we attended a funeral with him in St. Nazianz and a few years later went in search of the giant rocks he remembered from his childhood that were distributed along the fence line of his property. He wanted to find them again, to touch them, to sit on them, and was able to describe them in detail. He was living in senior housing in the Village of St. Nazianz and his old farmstead was slowly collapsing all the while he told township officials he would repair it soon. It was razed in November 2009. We've been working to add subtitles to One Million Years because the thick Germanic Wisconsin dialects of a couple of the men were somewhat difficult to decipher, especially with the low-fi sound recording methods we used. We were almost finished with Herman's section of the film when we heard the news of his passing.


  1. I'm really sorry to hear this. I remember almost being choked up when I saw your photos of Herman at your most recent LU exhibit. He seemed as eternal as his beloved rocks.

    Requiescat in pace.

  2. Do you think it's coincidence that Herman died the month after the demolition of his homestead? Your art chronicled his life-completion process, depicting it through a confluence of endings, of Herman the person and the locus of his life.