In his work, Meyerowitz reconsidered what makes for a “remarkable” subject, teasing visual intrigue from each beachgoer and Provincetown resident who showed up at his door. All believed themselves to fit his description for different reasons. One woman, whom Meyerowitz described as a classic American beauty with a New England look, revealed that she’d been in a terrible car crash, and had her face reconstructed. “I realized I was looking at a miracle,” Meyerowitz recalled. Taking picture after picture, he realized “that really all of us are remarkable.”
Yet Meyerowitz’s project quickly expanded beyond “remarkable” strangers as he began shooting his friends and acquaintances on the Cape. One frame, The Packard Family (1981), features a woman, Ann, in a white bucket hat and paint-splattered pants, her arms around her three daughters: one topless, one in a black bikini, and one in a metallic blue suit. Ann, an artist and a friend of Meyerowitz’s, raised five children on her own with little income. Now, both she and her daughter Cynthia are well-regarded artists on the Cape. Meyerowitz’s picture has become a time capsule of a younger, fallow time, with a sense of hope embedded in the beachy light.