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My father always said, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” He was right, and yet I wouldn’t trade all the joy, sorrow, pain, tragedy, darkness and light of my own experiences with my family for anyone else’s. The history and the weight of our lives make us who we are. I was honored to be selected to jury the Family Matters exhibition and delighted at the strength of the work submitted for the competition. I have long been interested in people’s stories. And this isn’t because I’m Read more [expand] the child of two therapists (with a sibling who became a therapist too). And it isn’t because Emmet Gowin is the reason I became a photographer. By documenting those we know intimately or those who know each other intimately, we not only capture fleeting moments, the moments we were intending to record, but often these images reveal secrets or even become preludes for what is to come. As an example, there is something in Jaclyn Cori Norman’s portrait of her daughter in the backyard where I don’t know if she is yelling in pain or rapture. Or Desiree Edkins’ photograph of her daughter defiantly standing in front of a frozen running truck. Or the family portrait made by Judi Iranyi where two members of that group are clearly not enjoying the occasion one bit. The dynamics of family, yours and others, is fascinating. Thankfully, many talented artists are documenting every aspect of the journey of life from the beginning until the end. This exhibition includes everything from birth (literally, a baby just screaming into life) to death (images of funeral gowns and grave sites being photographed before the casket can be lowered into the ground) and all the stages in between. Bravo!
- Ann M. Jastrab
Ann M. Jastrab is a fine art photographer, master printer, teacher and curator. She is currently Gallery Director at RayKo Photo Center in the SOMA arts district, San Francisco. Ann has curated many exhibitions for RayKo as well as juried exhibitions for the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Artspan, and SFAI, the Center for Fine Art Photography, and other national and international venues outside of San Francisco. She has reviewed portfolios at the Seoul International Photography Festival in Korea, Fotofest, Photolucida, GuatePhoto, Review Santa Fe, Review LA, PhotoAlliance (Our World), SPE, Medium, Palm Springs Photo Festival, Filter, Lishui International Photography Festival in China, and Click646, as well as being a juror for Critical Mass. In addition to these venues, you'll also find her at Maine Media Workshops, where she has been teaching since 1994. Jastrab has a particular interest in work depicting family, and has a keen eye to the nuances of a genre that has picked up a great deal of momentum in recent years.
Family. A term that evokes an avalanche of associations – some dear, some fraught, some bearing the weight of tradition and lineage, some the glow of intimacy and trust. "Family" can be defined in many ways, but it always incorporates relationships among people who share common bonds born of friendship, location, loyalty, love, belief, interest, or blood.