This text reflects about the photography in the family context, using different approach related to the field of sociology, anthropology, psychology and psychoanalysis. Some chapters are very difficult to read, because they required a deep knowledge of these specific areas mentioned before.
The first chapter “Mourning and Postmemory” is fundamental to introduce the concept of post memory, perfectly illustrate by the comic book “Maus” by Spielgman. The author analyses the presence of photography within the narration of the events that take place during the Second World War to his own family. I found very interesting the idea of photography as an umbilical cord with those lieux of the memory, that otherwise would unavoidable fell into the oblivion.
Interesting the second chapter “Reframing the human family romance” which introduces the concept of the hierarchized view within the familial gaze: “The conventions of family photography, with its mutuality of confirming looks that construct a set of familial roles and hierarchies, reinforce the power of the notion of family”. Under this prism, the author explores the well-known exhibition “The Family of Main”, “conceived as a mirror of the universal elements and emotions in the everydayness of life –as a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world”.
The intensity of the book grows in the third chapter “Masking the subject”, where the concept of affiliation appears to refer the way on which we perceive family photographs. I have to admit that from here the book is difficult to read, following the theoretical reasoning of the author requires a deep of understanding of a matter out of knowledge. Although the path of reading is harder, it’s worth to read to get some useful ideas.