Posted by: ableanna | November 8, 2008

Family & Purpose

The only photographic project that I have been seriously working on has been the subject of my daughter and my role as a mother. I have some images that I deem worthy for art-slag, but I have not done anything with them. Yet.

Shower by Annabelle Agnew, 2007

Shower by Annabelle Agnew, 2007

A former teacher of mine, Marisa Portolese, advertised Purpose magazine in her Facebook status and I spent my entire afternoon poring over the images. I can appreciate a great landscape and other forms of portraiture and photo-journalistic pursuits, but family photography (done right) has always fixated my attention. (It’s in part why I adore the images of Barack Obama and his family together, they’re so different from previous presidential families. I find that more often than not the political family displays more formality and rigidity; a forced intimacy if you will, which appears to be entirely absent from the Obama family.)

The duality of strength and fragility is the cornerstone of complexity within family relations. Everyone comes from a family (even if you’re raised by wolves). Some relations are good, some are awful, most are incredibly complex. These relationships shape who you become, even if there are no longer any relationships to speak of… absence of family can shape you just as much. Personally, when I became a mother, all of the roles and relationships within my family have become profoundly more significant and yet, strangely enigmatic. I have a determined desire to understand it, in order to help me shape and build the connection I have with my daughter. And despite all of my previous rants, I personally feel that the medium of photography delivers its best when it looks at Family. My love for photography began with my own family photo albums.

When you have a moment, flip through Purpose and keep an eye out for: Alessandra Sanguinetti‘s “Black Cloud” from her series The adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic meaning of their dreams; Elizabeth Fleming‘s series Life is a series of small moments; and Thekla Ehling‘s Sommerherz series (especially the diptych of the boy in the bath, paired with the trees… she pairs her images beautifully). They have been earmarked as new favorites of mine.

And here’s an old favorite: Tina Barney. And here’s a fact: I was floored when my good friend Piera said that not only had she met her, but was a subject of one of her photographs. (She’s the girl in braids drawing at the table.)

The Graham Cracker Box by Tina Barney

The Graham Cracker Box by Tina Barney

I have been asking P for her autograph ever since. Well, not really. (But I want to).

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