Shawn Michelle Smith
Untitled grid 1Untitled grid 2Untitled triptych 1Detail, Untitled triptych 1Untitled triptych 2Detail, Untitled triptych 2Untitled diptych 1Untitled diptych 2Untitled diptych 3Detail, Untitled diptych 3Camerawork coverFrontiers cover
Fragments from a Family Album
This project grew out of my fascination with family photograph albums and the importance of such records both personally and culturally. Working from an album that chronicles moments in the lives of three young girls (my mother and her sisters) in tiny, fading images from the 1930s and 1940s, I have enlarged and combined details in diptyches, triptyches, and grids. The images bear the traces of time; some are ghostlike due to fading and enlarged grain, and some bear the spots and scratches of decades of wear and tear. The pieces focus on the gestures and expressions that disrupt the controlled effects of matching outfits and orderly poses, highlighting the strangeness of gender norms, and drawing out the moments of both beauty and frustration that resist the frames of "pretty pictures."