Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

What Makes a Family?

An exhibition explores how black photographers portray their communities and kin.

 - March 20, 2018

When Roy DeCarava set out in mid-twentieth century Harlem to undertake what would become the landmark photobook The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), he employed photography as “a creative expression to meditate on everyday life and family,” says Drew Sawyer, head of exhibitions and curator of photography at the Columbus Museum of Art. The artists featured in the exhibition Family Pictures–LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson, Carrie Mae Weems, John Edmonds, and Gordon Parks among them–work in a similar vein, pushing against traditional notions of documentary photography in radical and intimate depictions of domestic life.

Family Pictures is on view at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio through May 20, 2018