At 102 years of age, Tessie Scerri has already lived longer than most. And now her great grand niece, photographer Giola Cassar, has embarked on a project to immortalise her memory through a photobook.
“I’ve been photographing Tessie ever since I started photography but I started this project last April,” Giola tells Lovin Malta. “Tessie’s very carefree, she doesn’t complain and still has lots of life in her and recollects many memories and stories from her past.”
Born in 1917, Tessie never got married or had children and instead devoted a lot of her life to taking care of her parents. Although men had expressed interest in her, her mother rejected them and Tessie obeyed.
“She jokes about never having had a man in her life,” Giola says. “However, although she didn’t have children, she did spend 32 years as a teacher, which was quite unusual for a woman back then.”
The book is over 100 pages long and includes photos of Tessie and her possessions, as well as composites from old family albums. Text in both English and Maltese is included alongside the photos but the narration doesn’t take the form of a biography.
While some parts will be factual, others will provide insights into Tessie’s own dreams.
“She wonders and dreams about a lot of things, such as what life would have been like had she got married or moved abroad,” Giola says.
For this project, the photographer collaborated with Glen Calleja, who wrote the narration, and Adrian Gauci, who focused on the graphic design.
Crowdfunding is ongoing for the printing and production of the book and over €835 has been pledged so far.