International Exhibitions Showcasing Documentary Family Photography

Apr 7, 2021

We all know how strange the last 12 months have been. The photography industry has certainly been hard hit by lockdowns. But I always like to try and find a silver lining. With my work diary being quieter than normal, I was given the gift of time. For the first time I could really to delve into personal work (something that is usually pushed to the back of the queue). The result is that I have finally ticked a few items off my bucket list. I am really proud and honoured to share that 4 images, representing my work as a documentary family photographer, have been selected to be part of 2 international photography exhibitions.

 

Transforming Perspectives, DFP Inaugural Exhibition

Documentary Family Photographers Worldwide (DFP) is hosting its first photography exhibition, entitled Transforming Perspectives. The collection showcases images from documentary family photographers from around the world. It champions true family stories, diverse backgrounds, and celebrates everyday family life. In fact you will see everything from the good, the bad, the funny, and anything in between.

New York Times Photo Editor, Tiffanie Graham, curated the exhibition from over 650 submissions. Running from 5th-30th April, 2021, the show includes 50 photographs by 44 photographers from 11 different countries. I’m excited that 2 of my images were selected, and I was also invited to speak at the live opening reception. Due to the pandemic the collection is hosted in a virtual gallery rather than in person. This is actually fantastic as visitors can view the exhibition from anywhere in the world!

I have always thought that our work as documentary family photographers operates on two planes. Not only are we making beautiful modern imagery but also an important historical record in the true social documentary sense. In Tiffanie Graham’s words ‘This is an opportunity to explore what family is. What it means and looks like to different people, cultures, and generations. Each selected piece displays a unique perspective that not only reflects the diversity of what family is but also examines the recurring themes seen in family. Struggle, love, tension, companionship, fun, support and so much more.’

Teenage sister looking moody with younger sister playing freely in the background

I took this photo to demonstrate the contrast in age and the differences in personalities of my two daughters. Part of the Transforming Perspectives Exhibition.

 

Siblings and dog fighting and arguing in the back of the car

I took this photo to show that the reality of family life is not always idyllic, sometimes there are fights and arguments. Part of the Transforming Perspectives Exhibition.

 

Picture (im)Perfect, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

A collective of 46 photographers from across the world is exhibiting at the Picture (im)Perfect exhibition. Taking place at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts from 16th April to 31st May 2021, over 70 artworks will be displayed. Resident photography historian and curator Marieke van der Krabben curated the show. It’s exciting that such a large collection of images from the international documentary family community will be represented in one place.

As the title suggests, the distinction between perfect and imperfect pictures has disappeared. They can both be viewed as beautiful photographs in their own rights. One thing every selected photograph has in common is how they show the strongest bonds humans forge are with each other. No matter where we live, what we look like, or who our families are, we all form intense connections. The time we spend together is worth recording, perfect or not, because this is our legacy.

In the words of FMoPA, this exhibition features a wide array of voices from within the global documentary family community. Documentary family photographers use raw, unposed, undirected, family moments to create visual narratives. Family routines are elevated to an artistic expression. They celebrate the beautiful complexities of being part of a family. Ultimately they create emotive, relatable, evocative, and powerful visual legacies.

I am so proud to be part of this international community of family documentary photographers. Together we are trail blazing a change in the way the world sees and captures family. We are creating art at the same time as promoting a healthy understanding that real is what makes life interesting. Real is the new perfect.

I am also excited to share that there is a book to accompany the works on display. So if you can’t get to Florida, buy the book! This will support the show and help raise funds to take it on the road. To find out more and to order a copy of the book, please visit Picture (im)Perfect.

Girls on roadside by deserted building site

I captured this shot after my daughters had cleared out some old toys. They were carrying them to a refuge centre. Part of the ‘Perfect (im)Perfect’ photographic exhibition in FMoPA, Florida.

 

Sisters playing with shadows at bedtime

My older daughter dutifully playing with her sister although she wants to read. Part of the ‘Perfect (im)Perfect’ photographic exhibition in FMoPA, Florida.

 

 

And finally…

My thanks go to the organisers and curators of both exhibitions for their hard work. I am so grateful for their recognition of the art that we make documenting the real life of families. If you would like to read about more photography exhibitions that I have been involved in, please look here.

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