Časopisi po područjima
Politike i razmjena
Family Photo Album
; Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Šubićeva 42, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
The focus of this article is on emphasizing the socially established rules and conventions which enforce certain appearance and contents, in this case, a specific aesthetics of classical family albums from the 1980s, the last decade of pre-digital photography. Hence, the article analyzes the family album of one informant, Sandra, starting form the conceptual framework set by the American visual anthropologist, Richard Chalfen.
Chalfen suggests that for the research of family pictorial documents – home movies and family photograph, in digital and classical forms alike, we should use a specific research framework which will question the ways in which visual, pictorial communication is taking place. Home mode communication is one of the terms Chalfen uses to describe the total production of visual material in one family. The first dimension of his research framework refers to the image communication event: 1. Planning the event which can be filming (shooting) or making photographs; 2. Filming or photographing; 3. Editing the film or photographs before public presentation; 4. Presentation of photographs or films. Each of the above mentioned activities consists of five components: 1. People who participate, participants; 2. Themes; 3. Location; 4. Message form; 5. Code. In the second part of the article the same family album is analyzed following Pierre Bourdieu’s study of photography from the 1960s. Bourdieu noticed that the conventionality of the attitudes towards photography point to the type of social relations backed up by the society which is simultaneously multilayered and static and in which family and home are more real than individuals, primarily defined through family ties. Under those circumstances, social rules of behavior and moral code are more prominent than individual’s feelings, desires or thoughts. Having this in mind, I have compared Sandra’s album with several examples from Erving Goffman’s study of gender advertisements. In this study, Goffman points to the link between image and the item it displays, and hence emphasizes the complex relationship between everyday ceremonial behavior and symbolical presentations of that behavior on the example of pictorial advertisements. One of the conclusions I can draw from the comparison of Goffman’s selected examples with the photographs from Sandra’s family album is that both advertisements and Sandra’s family photographs more frequently present the mother-daughter and father-son relationships (Goffman 1979:40). Furthermore, Goffman notices that female body is more visible in advertising photographs (Goffman 1979:30). Women touch their bodies more often, as well as bodies of other people, on family photographs they are the ones who display tenderness more often, kiss others more often, which could be observed in almost all analyzed collections of photographs.
However, even though family photographs adhere to social conventions, they also exist as intimate family souvenirs and are conceptualized only under the framework of one’s family history and life. Sandra’s family album is not only an example of classical family album from the 1980s, but is also a family souvenir, a memory of her mother and a significant part of Sandra’s life, intimate past of her family and herself.
family photographic album; Milivoj Vodopija; Richard Chalfen; Erving Goffman; Pierre Bourdieu; anthropology of visual communication; image communication event
Hrčak ID: 45123
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