Interesting quotes

“Society influences and to some extent controls the ways in which motherhood is represented.” – Val Williams

“Photography narrates stories of the real world, and in doing so, makes that world both more and less real.” – Val Williams

“Contemporary women artists imbued with their own memories, their own desires, reinterpret the family album, challenge its innocence and its veracity.” – Val Williams

“The photography of childhood is something which we all encounter. The photograph of ourselves when young is something which we cling to as times erodes memory and we acquire an adult history.” – Val Williams

“At the end of January 1999, two ten-year old girls went missing from their homes in Hastings on the South Coast of England, disappeared as if by magic on the short walk to school. Their photographs were printed on the front pages of almost every national newspaper. Both are smiling at the camera hesitantly, in the way children do. Family photographs such as these are seen by the public only at times of tragedy or mystery. We know when we see them in this context, that they signify misery and the descent into chaos. Private objects, rightfully part of a domestic interior, they have become catastrophically public. Four days after their disappearance, the girls were found and they were pictured again in the press, this time as rescued survivors, surrounded by police, parents and press. The two family photographs will nevertheless remain in the minds of everyone who saw them as a reminder of their strange journey from the private to the public, from anonymity to a terrible celebrity.” – Val Williams

“The common knowledge is that photographs of children depict the instability and vulnerability of childhood. Photographs of childhood are more about adulthood. Photographs of children remind us that youth’s opposite is death.” – Val Williams

“A photograph shows you a plethora of things but it refuses to explain any of them. It presents itself as a fact without any attempt to justify its authority. It doesn’t ‘speak’ of anything, just points at things silently. But this doesn’t mean the photograph can’t touch you. The potency of the photograph lies not in its (de)coded message but in its ability to affect.” – Val Williams

“In a photographic image nakedness becomes suspect, vulnerability more obvious and the possibility of exploitation only too real.” – Val Williams

“Images from the past which had been seen as innocent and charming are now reinterpreted as sentimental or exploitive. The contemporary world is convinced that corruption and danger lurks within the human unconscious.” – Val Williams

“This most private of collections is also thoroughly public. Its meanings are social as well as personal- and the social influences the personal.” – Patricia Holland

“Difficult individuals like divorced spouses and nonconforming siblings tend to be absent. Sickness, disease and disability are barely visible.” – Patricia Holland

“We could ask: for whom is this image so carefully, so spontaneously manufactured? Family photography is not expected to be appreciated by outsiders, yet there is a need to produce the correct pictures, as if the audience were the public at large. Is each individual looking for their own ideal image? Are members of the group presenting themselves for each others, or unknown ‘others’, for future generations? Is this a joint self-celebration, or is it a presentation of the imagined family group for the critical scrutiny of outsiders- even if those outsiders are never expected to see it?” – Patricia Holland

“As we leaf through our album, reviewing the different positions we have taken in the overlapping families pictured there, we may easily swerve from sentimental nostalgia to an angry rejection of remembered pressures.” – Patricia Holland

“Family photographs are supposed to show not so much that we were once there, as how we once were: to evoke memories which might have little or nothing to do with what is actually in the picture.” – Annette Kuhn

“Family photographs are about memory and memories: that is, they are about stories of a past, shared (both stories and past) by a group of people that in a moment of showing produces itself as a family.” – Annette Kuhn

“Just as there is more than one way of making photographs, so there is more than one way of using them.” – Annette Kuhn

“….family albums are about forgetting as well as remembering.” – Patricia Holland

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