Intimate Conflicts: Foregrounding the Radical Politics of Family Photographs

Date

2014-12

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

University Press of New England

Type

Book chapter

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

In this essay I discuss the common scholarly argument that because the nuclear family is conditioned by the social order, family photographs manifest and propagate social values as well as behavioral standards that secure a sense of sociocultural cohesion. Indeed family photographs construct and impart knowledge about the family and its sociocultural surroundings. However, they are collected by families, kept for families, and shared within familial circles of relations and close friends. They are made for a specific group of individuals, often in moments of no particular significance other than for the intimate circle of the family unit. I therefore show that family photographs are the products of sitters’ desires to draw attention to their own selves and the alternative realities created by and for themselves, rather than to the social domain at large. In this respect, I argue that family photographs have more in common with photographic histories of sociopolitical conflict and destabilization than with those of political integration and social cohesion.

Description

Keywords

Photography, Historiography, Family Photography, Family Photographs

Citation

Pasternak, G. (2014) Intimate Conflicts: Foregrounding the Radical Politics of Family Photographs. In: Sheehan, Tanya, ed. Photography, History, Difference. University Press of New England.

Rights

Research Institute

Media Discourse Centre (MDC)
Institute of Art and Design