These photographs and personal texts are part of a larger series on family interactions. Examining my own family’s rituals, practices and ways of relating, I was interested in how traditions and communication unfolded from the beginning of raising my own children. As the narrator and active participant, I observed the cultural and social values, and subsequent attitudes and behaviors, those filtered into or already perpetuated by the family.
Working from a feminist perspective, and influenced by the work of the late anthropologist Barbara Meyerhoff, I needed to go no farther than my own backyard. But, family members were separated by thousands of miles and spread between the Midwest and the extreme south and north Eastern U.S. Our time together was usually condensed, rotating households and states, during a few annual visits. And those geographic distances, and generational differences, contributed to the dynamics of our relationships.
The complex specifics of family situations and interactions– the chaotic, the precious, the anxious, the mundane– are often impacted by influences outside and greater than the family itself. Family is the repository for all aspects of our culture to collide, when one takes notice. However, the photographs and texts imply a consciousness that suggests dialogue where the family can also be a place of resistance and change.