The McCanns by Karen Davis



This is one of those treasures I just shouldn’t keep to myself. It’s a visual memoir by photographer Karen Davis, a tribute really to her late sister Cheryl. Cheryl was born with spina bifida and throughout her childhood played with a plastic doll family she called The McCanns. In the McCann family, Cheryl was Tom McCann who she decided suffered from Polio and wore braces and crutches just like her. When Cheryl died in 2006, her sister Karen Davis inherited The McCanns and decided to photograph them in scenes that recall her childhood memories with her sister from decades ago.

The McCann Family
Though I first saw these photos almost two years ago, they still haunt me. Not in a scary way. But because they capture simultaneously individual loneliness and fierce familial dedication.

Here are some more of my favorite scenes from The McCann Family. I urge you to see the entire series and I contact the artist directly if you’re interested in purchasing one or more photos (two of which are now in the CPW permanent collection of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art).

The McCann Family

The McCann Family

The McCann Family

About the author

Isabel Kallman
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

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One Response to “The McCanns by Karen Davis”

  1. jaymee Aug 21 at 1:44 pm Reply Reply

    This reminds me of the Deployed Series that my cousin painted while her husband was deployed. Not the same situations, but you can feel the pain coming from both of them.

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