Fleeting faces — A modern family portrait

The notion of family has evolved from large tribal affiliations of nomadic times into the large family with three generations living comfortably under one roof to the present-day small nuclear family of two parents and their offspring. Today, even this unit is often living in single parent homes.

Given this fragmentation within contemporary families, which of course includes my own family, I found the classic approach to family portraiture impossible from a practical standpoint but also completely inadequate as a truthful representation of my family.

In traditional family portraits, all members of the family gathered in one place and arranged themselves with the help of the photographer in a way that reflected their particular family structure. Grandparents are almost always seated in the center, with everyone else surrounding them like a protective shield. Importance, reverence and relationships are coded into the arrangement for family members to decipher even decades later.

The question I asked myself with tis project, is wether it is possible to create a portrait of the contemporary family that better represents the splintered reality of the early 21st century family?

Starting in 2008 I've photographed members of my extended family individually every four years. The resulting portraits are the raw material for experimental ways of creating family portraits. You'll find a detailed description of the project in this PDF.

 

Mother’s Side
Father’s Side