“The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived and then by some means or other, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes–forming patterns we have seen before... but still unique.”
– Neil Gaiman, American Gods
As the title to a Granta collection states, “Family: They Fuck You Up;” I am still recovering from my family, from my upbringing. This is not unique, nor is it, necessarily, reflected in my photography: I admit to using photography as homage to the idea of family, a consecration, rather than dissection. Photographs that may provoke questions but do not presume to supply answers. Photographs that are true–as much as that’s possible, in that the events pictured really did happen–but which acknowledge the fiction inherent in all photographs. Photography’s close resemblance to reality. Photographs that are in the documentary tradition, but ideally more symbolic like a Callahan or Gowin than fiction like a Mann. A record of one family, as unique and similar as any other.
I had wanted to be a father for as long as I can remember, due most likely to the absence of mine. The reality is of course different from the wish: the sleep deprivation, the depth of love, the feelings of responsibility, joy, protectiveness, frustration, anger – all of this and much more are the intimate, private moments wrapped up in being a father, a husband.
Artists who use their families as subject matter try to translate private experience into universal themes in hopes that it will, poetically, fit back into the lives of others–allowing anyone a window into their intimate moments, from the mundane to the extraordinary. This is what I aspire to do with my photography. As Anthony Brandt has written, “Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family."