For Immediate Release

Contact: Heather Holbus, Director of Operations and Promotions
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Phone: (312) 243-9088


One thousand photographs found in a junk store tell the story of an anonymous couple’s past.
A photographer’s quest to identify them leads to a social media experiment that inspires questions about photography’s future and our places in history

CHICAGO, IL — Harry and Edna were everyday people who lived extraordinary lives. They frequented fancy parties. They traveled the world. And they captured it all on film.

More than half a century later, photographer Jeff Phillips uncovered boxes of unlabeled Kodachrome slides in a second hand shop in suburban St. Louis. An artist who has always been fascinated by found photographs, he bought them, wondering why these enigmatic family portraits were abandoned.

He began sharing the vivid and kitschy images. The unknown couple is seen at a holiday party, on a tropical cruise, and posing on an iceberg in Alaska. Photographs of each other in front of famous places.

The more images he shared, the more intent he became on finding the people in the pictures. He created a page on Facebook that featured images of the woman and asked, “Is This Your Mother?”

Could the social media community help restore their identities, or would these photographs be lost forever?

The number of visitors to the page grew quickly, and a disparate search party of amateur genealogists and online sleuths emerged. They foraged for hidden details within the unmarked photographs, scouring census databases and immigration records for possible connections. Others participated by remarking about the fashions of the period, or by proposing imaginary dialog that might have occurred between the two unknown persons. Some visitors even seemed to project their own fears and regrets on the couple.

Lost and Found, a photography exhibition at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, continues their collective story. The show explores the intersection of photography, social media, and our places in history. The opening reception is on May 9, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Lost and Found will run from May 9, 2014 until August 30, 2014.

In the meantime, visit Harry and Edna on the web at or on Facebook at If you would like additional information about the

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show or would like to schedule an interview with Jeff Phillips, please contact Jeff directly at (312) 404-0426.

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