A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 89-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations. Grandma reluctantly agreed, but once they got rolling, she couldn't take the smile off her face.
Frederika was born in Budapest 20 years before World War II. During the war, at the peril of her life, she saved the lives of ten people. As a survivor of Nazism and Communism, she then immigrated away from Hungary to France, forced by the communist regime to leave her homeland illegally or face death.
Aside from great strength, Frederika has an incredible sense of humor, one that defies time and misfortune. She is funny and cynical, and always mocks people that she loves, including herself.
With the unexpected success of the series, titled Mamika, Goldberger created a MySpace page for his grandmother. She now has over 2,000 friends and receives messages like: 'You're the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?' and ' You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age.'
Initially, she did not understand why all these people wrote to congratulate her. . Then, little by little, she realized that her story conveyed a message of hope and joy and that, through all those pictures, she had posed with enthusiasm. Now, after the set, Goldberger shares that his grandmother has never been depressed. Perhaps it's because, to her, her story serves some sort of purpose, and that through her virtual friends, she's reminded everyday how lucky she is to be alive.