I began shooting families professionally because I loved taking, and especially having, beautiful photographs of my own family. There is something very counter-intuitive about the experience of studying a photograph over and over again. Here’s this single, static moment in time, something you would have forgotten, not only the details of but often the entire event, if it hadn’t been captured. And yet the picture contains so much rich information, is so steeped in meaning, contains even the future and past of the subjects, and reveals itself to you in time, as though it, too, were evolving.
As a child, when I got an envelope of snapshots back from Walgreens, I’d share them with my best friend Billie. No matter the subject, she would look at each one and point out details beyond the subject of the frame. Then she’d flip to the next. When we had looked through each of them, we’d start at the beginning and look through them again, often repeating the loop many times. By giving the photographs time in front of our eyes, we could uncover new elements of interest.
As an adult, I taught “Visual Thinking Strategies” as a part of the School Programs staff at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS, is a teaching methodology that aims to promote “aesthetic development.” Essentially, it helps you get good at looking at, and talking about art, by spending loads of time looking at, and talking about art. It’s a beautiful program, and deserves a longer explanation, but I’ll save it for another day. Suffice it to say, that my early experiences pouring over the same few pictures with my best friend prepared me well for a life wherein I would eventually create my own images.
The images included in this post are of my extended family. I shot them over several days in Minneapolis, Minnesota.