Family Portraits
June 7, 2013 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Portraits of My Family by Camilla Catrambone. "These portraits aim to represent my family members through the objects they've owned." [Via]
posted by homunculus (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. So striking.
posted by custardfairy at 7:18 PM on June 7, 2013

posted by maryr at 9:57 PM on June 7, 2013

posted by Apropos of Something at 10:01 PM on June 7, 2013

The photos are nice, but it looks like a catalog. Even though these these have personal value, without the context of living with the people that used these objects, I get the feeling that I am being marketed to by Williams Sonoma. Sort of a "buying history" aesthetic.

(Which maybe says less about her art, and more about how good the people that sell this sort of stuff for a living are.)
posted by Hicksu at 10:12 PM on June 7, 2013

These are very beautiful. The composition and technical execution are masterful. This is better than 99% of the photography that gets attention nowadays.

But here's the deal for me: these are so dearly composed, so authored, that I am left cold or at least a little chilly. Maybe Hicksu just said it best above (comment appeared as I was writing this)--they are slick, commercial. I am overwhelmed by the aesthetics of the artist, the editing of the editor. In some ways this would be more successful it were less artfully done. Leave the viewer more room to roam, let some mystery in. We are not as beautiful as our objects--or perhaps much more so.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:37 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

The photos are surreal in their beauty.

The first with the fur coat at the bottom reminded me of the suede overcoat my grandmother wore for many years. I hated that thing. It had a terrible odor, and the texture of it made my skin crawl. Somehow I think the artist would have been able to make that thing photogenic.

Most of the items if I would have seen them IRL I would have had a similar reaction. Ewww... she used those spoons?

I understand the "chill" that these impart. They look like they are soon to be Springbok puzzles.
posted by moonlily at 11:16 PM on June 7, 2013

If someone did a "portrait" of me involving lace doilies and a tea set, I'd feel horribly misunderstood, patronized, and insulted. As if they never really knew me at all.

Has she nothing interesting to say about these people's inner lives? Could anyone's understanding of another human being be so shallow as to sum up their entire being as a fucking squash on a cutting board? How anodyne and off-putting. There's a certain "just so" syrup-sodden smugness about the whole thing that really makes my skin crawl.

This reads more as a depressing commentary on the futility of human communication: even those closest to us file us away in tidy little conceptual boxes.
posted by doreur at 11:52 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

even those closest to us file us away in tidy little conceptual boxes.

Ouch, that is depressing. It would be a bummer to be remembered as a Thinkpad, sketchpad, and running shoes.
posted by Hicksu at 12:21 AM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't get that sterilized or patronizing vibe at all. If some object or three reminds people of me, great. I can think of far worse things for someone to associate with 'me' than the tools I used to to make my self.
posted by DigDoug at 7:41 AM on June 8, 2013

I really wanted to like this. I love looking at people's objects and imagining their connection with them - how did they get it, how did they feel about it, what was going through their minds when they last used it? It's appealing to remember that even our non-branded, non-quirky, everyday objects can say something about who we are. But like some others have already commented, the execution here feels very sterile and manufactured to me. I wanted to look at things and think about the owner using them; instead, I got distracted in imagining the artist positioning every olive just so and ensuring the light reflected off those spoons in just the right way - the artist got in the way for me, much like an author who draws more attention to their word choice than their story.

Assuming any of these family members are still alive, I wonder how they feel about these portraits?
posted by DingoMutt at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2013

She wrote "The objects represented in every picture don’t talk about the entire life of my grandpa, but the portray deeply describes a moment I shared with him." I enjoyed the idea of a single memory shown only with the physical objects laid out for me to see. Lovely.
posted by notaninja at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2013

« Older "What's O-bama-da-nation."   |   Banger Racing Mini Tow Race Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments