For this assignment, I challenged you to think about what family means to you. Thank you to every photographer who participated and shared a part of their family with me. I often felt transported throughout this assignment; going through your images made me feel like I was there with you witnessing some of these moments. I could feel your love and your grief, I could smell your homemade pasta that made my mouth water, and I could hear your children laughing. There is nothing more I can ask for when looking at an image than to feel something. Thank you for giving me that experience through your images.
What is family? It seems like a pretty straightforward question, but I challenged you to think of this in a deeper, more personal way. Through your images, I learned about your parents, your children, and your friends. I got to know families from places and cultures all over the world. As I went through your submissions, I found many commonalities: group shots of families that may have looked different but compositionally were the same. Pleasantly, I found that I related to many of these entries. While no family truly looks the same, there was an overwhelming universal feeling of love.
When editing I chose images I was drawn to the most initially. I went through many rounds of edits trying to narrow down all the entries. Once I had it down to the final 50, captions became key.
I loved reading your personal experiences and feelings in your captions. Many of your words described with such beauty what your family meant to you. Natalia O. wrote one of the captions that stood out to me the most:
"1988. I'm four years old; my mother is 35. It's somewhere around my birthday, I think. I remember blurry fragments of this trip, my mother's soft jumper, hard wooden beads on her necklace; her hands' smell of cigarettes.
2019. I'm almost 35 years old. I don't have children to take for a trip. I wear neither jumpers nor jewelry; I don't smoke.
But still, I'm her daughter. And she's my mother.”
I got goosebumps reading this because of how relatable it was. When my mother was my age, she was married to my father. They lived in a house together in the suburbs and had already shared 10 years of their lives with one another. She was selling furniture and had that big ‘80s hair.
Now I’m 25 and am living in an apartment in New York City. I’m nowhere near ready to be married or start a family. I am freelancing as a photojournalist with little to no stability in my schedule. I wear mostly black clothing and have long, curly hair that falls onto my face when I laugh.
But still, I am her daughter. And she’s my mother.