What is Family?
When I think of family, I think of my grandmother’s house filled with the robust laughter of my large Italian-German family. I smell my grandmother’s homemade cookies. I see the stairs where we take a family portrait every year, in which someone is guaranteed to be blinking.
I grew up in a nuclear family; there was my mom, my dad, my sister, and I. My parents still live in the third house on the right side of our street. The home has a new coat of paint but the same feeling it has always had. As a photographer, I am intrigued by how societal changes are affecting our definitions of family. I enjoy exploring the differences between every family I meet and how those differences mold and shape their family dynamics.
Over the years, I have met a Mormon couple with quadruplets, a woman who got pregnant on her own through IVF, a transgender man who had an unplanned pregnancy with his partner, a group of senior synchronized swimmers who teach the youth how to swim, and a single mom of eight adopted foster children.
For this assignment, I want you to think about what family means to you. Is it your life partner, children, parents, or friends? Is it the traditional dish your mother cooks or the house you grew up in? Maybe it's your memories of plastic-wrapped furniture, coupons on the refrigerator, an old stuffed animal you never got rid of, or the creaking swing in your backyard. Maybe it’s a lake or a team. I want you to think outside the box and let me know: What does family mean to you?
Independent Visual Journalist
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