All the Days and Nights
Publication: Spring 2009
I have been photographing my family, on and off, for more than twenty years. It’s a small ensemble consisting almost exclusively of my parents, brother, sister and most recently, my nephew. The work began in 1984, the year before my father’s near fatal fall from a commuter train and my mother’s subsequent breakdown and hospitalizations for depression. Over the years, I have made a series of photographs, largely portraits, which chronicle the emotional demands and delicate forbearance of family life. During this time, my parents separated and subsequently ended their marriage of forty-two years, my sister divorced shortly after the birth of her son, and my brother began a life on his own in New York City.
The significance of these events, while critical to the motivation and context for creating the photographs, is not essential to their apprehension. The pallor of my mother’s skin, the glare of my father’s gaze and the tactile communion between my sister and nephew constitute a complex and resonant picture of family ties, the inevitability of aging, and the struggle to be at home with oneself. While I don’t appear in any of the photographs, my presence is held in the gaze of my family whenever they stare out at the camera; the repertoire of gestures, settings and poses reveal my hand as the photographer; and our emotional engagement speaks of a life together and my particular history with each.