‘Inheritance’

By Juliet Lapidos

Published March 30, 2007, issue of March 30, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

‘The rich are different than you and me,” F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly told Ernest Hemingway.

“Yes, they have more money,” Hemingway quipped.

It’s a telling, if apocryphal, exchange that delineates two basic understandings of wealth — one aristocratic, the other democratic. In her first book of photographs, “Inheritance” (The Monacelli Press), Andrea Stern advances Hemingway’s democratic side of the debate. Stern belongs to a wealthy Jewish family from New York. For 15 years she kept a photographic journal, chronicling family gatherings (bar mitzvahs, holiday dinners, weddings) and daily life (breakfast, cigarette breaks, afternoons by the pool) before sorting through thousands of images to create “Inheritance.” As the title suggests, affluence is Stern’s backdrop. In the forefront, however, the photographic subjects are startlingly ordinary: They get bored and irritated; they play videogames and then doze off with their sneakers on.

“Inheritance” does not, as one might expect, encourage voyeurism: It is not an exposé of the Stern household, but an examination of family as a concept. There is a universal quality to the images that prompts viewers, whatever their background, to feel a spark of recognition — to find something familiar in an ostensibly foreign situation.

Stern’s work has been published in The New Yorker, GQ, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere. Her photographs are part of collections in Philadelphia at its Jewish Museum and its Museum of Art. They are also at the Jewish Museum of New York and in numerous private collections.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.