Family documentary has resonated with me since early childhood, long-before I even realized it. One of my favorite things to do was pull out the family photo albums where I'd spend hours looking and studying photographs that would transport me back in time. It wasn't until I become a parent myself, that I realized how important it was to have real life moments documented for a family.
In the meantime, I was shooting portraits but always found myself leaning more towards a lifestyle approach. And every once in awhile, I'd notice an inner voice hinting to an underlying desire to capture real life! I started documenting my own family and thought there may be other families out there who would also appreciate a documentary approach to capturing their family story.
What is family documentary?
Family documentary is about capturing your family's life in real moments from an unbiased, un-curated point-of-view. Consider it a visual journal. Family documentary falls under the broader umbrella of photo journalism that abides by a set of strict rules where the photographer is not to manipulate anything that falls within their frame, including the available light. Documentary work is driven by the moment, not the aesthetic. This doesn’t mean that documentary is just a series of snapshots either. The “narrative” paired with the appropriate composition to support it still plays a strong part in making a photograph. It’s just that any type of clutter, environment or lighting condition are embraced rather than avoided or ruled out as ‘bad’. Sometimes they add story to the subjects being photographed and are intentionally included for context. Documentary images are also lightly edited, and edited just enough to reflect the most accurate representation of the original scene.