issue 11 // family
fred hüning / hanna putz / john clang / andi schreiber / léonie hampton / carolle benitah / gao rongguo / adam lach / huang qingjun / annalisa brambilla / phillip toledano / pieter hugo
format: 38×29 / number of pages: 56 + cover / paper: edixion challenger
// issue 13 / digital version available here
family is an elementary topic of cultural and artistic fascination, with the most interesting criticism taking place in the modern era. photography in particular, with its ability to mercilessly depict reality, has played a huge part in redefining our understanding of family. issue 11 of blow photo explores the abundant subject of family photography. our front cover consciously leads with an image of childhood and motherhood, the essential elements for the creation of a family unit. from this starting point we trace a path through photographers who move far outside this definition.
some of the work featured in this issue is highly personal, often documentary in approach and style. other works can be quite analytical and detached, intellectually and critically informed, pursuing almost an anthropological methodology. both styles are questioning the stereotypical family iconography. contemporary family photography successfully addresses the issues of gender, socio-political conditions, emotional ambiguity and the very foundations of family by asking if blood is really thicker than water.
there is also the issue of public and private realms and the process of exposing one’s family life to the prying and very often judgmental eyes of the world. each of the presented projects involves a tug and a pull between external and internal worlds and implies the negotiations and compromises that define the limits of exposure.
our photographers create a mosaic. there are joys and sorrows, harrowing grief and unfulfilled expectations, everyday chaos and extraordinary moments. fred hüning and carolle benitah, whom we interviewed for this issue, represent different stylistic approaches. in his photographs, hüning takes ordinary settings and infuses them with religious and symbolic undercurrents. informed by feminism and psychoanalysis, benitah’s work makes use of old family albums in a refreshing and original fashion, creating an alternative history. in both cases we realise that family photography is not only about preserving memories, but most importantly about revealing truths.
pieter hugo’s project placed intentionally at the end of our issue raises questions about the ideals of home and family from a wider perspective. hugo looks at the configurations that pull us together and push us apart, and asks how does one raise a family in a conflicted country where its history, like its future, is distressed. at blow we have waited a long time to create this issue. family was one of the first topics we considered, but it took special events in our lives to encourage us to finally approach it. when family is contemplated as a force in the world it is second to none. even the grand thrusts of economics are shadowed by family. this is a hopeful thought.
blow photo would like to thank you for being part of blow eleven! staying true to large format print when representing fine art photography is very important to us and the photographers we work with. we will continue our efforts to gather outstanding images and produce them in excellent print form, bringing a tangible experience to fine art photography. your support has both encouraged and humbled us in our effort to continue in this challenging process. thank you sincerely, from all of us here at blow photo.
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