Family Photography

This entry discusses the sociocultural and political implications of family photographs, particularly in terms of their contributions to the constructions of children and childhoods. Rather than centering the prototypical White, middle-class families featured in Western and European photographs across history, this essay aims to center the experiences and images of photographers, families, and children from marginalized communities. To highlight the shifting subjectivities of children and of families, the entry concludes with a discussion of children’s renditions of family photos.

As Pierre Bourdieu noted in his 1965 book Photography: A Middle-Brow Art, the “family photograph is a ritual of the domestic cult in which the family is both subject and object” (p. 19), and perhaps no one is more the object and subject than the child within ...

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