The Family Camera at the Royal Ontario Museum

Anil Dewan, Deepali with her dog on a wicker garden chair, New Delhi, India, 1972. Dye coupler print, 3.4 x 3.4 in. Courtesy of Deepali Dewan.

Anil Dewan, Deepali with her dog on a wicker garden chair, New Delhi, India, 1972. Dye coupler print, 3.4 x 3.4 in. Courtesy of Deepali Dewan.

The Family Camera at the Royal Ontario Museum
May 6–October 29, 2017

Curated by Deepali Dewan, Jennifer Orpana, Thy Phu, Julie Crooks, and Sarah Bassnett, with the assistance of Sarah Parsons and Silvia Forni

This exhibition looks at family photographs as a cultural practice through the lens of migration, and considers the social, political, and technological factors that have impacted how individuals experience and represent family. The Family Camera demonstrates how these images reflect and shape conceptions of self, family, community, and nation. 

Reframing Family Photography Conference

crossing the farther shore. Courtesy of Dinh Q. Lê. We are pleased to announce that the Art Gallery of Mississauga will be exhibiting this work in May 2017.

crossing the farther shore. Courtesy of Dinh Q. Lê.

We are pleased to announce that the Art Gallery of Mississauga will be exhibiting this work in May 2017.

 Sept. 21-23, 2017                                                     

What is family photography? Scholars have often understood the genre as simply snapshots of domestic scenes—images that reflect and produce normative notions of family. Yet, family photographs are more complex than we think: they can also include images taken by a wide spectrum of producers, including the press and the state; they frequently circulate between private and public spheres, linking personal memories with national and even global histories; and, just as importantly, they don’t just illustrate families, but also shape the very idea of family in the contexts of race, gender, and sexuality.

This conference will re-examine the genre and develop new ways of investigating the cultural politics of family photography. This critical task is all the more timely not just because of photography’s transformation with the digital turn, but also because of recent historical shifts that have altered the composition and very meaning of kinship--including Cold War dislocations, the visibility of queer and trans* family belonging, transnational adoptions, and immigration under the auspices of family reunification.

To register,please click HERE.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017

(afternoon)    Artists’ roundtable moderated by Deepali Dewan // Royal Ontario Museum

 Family Camera Exhibition and Opening reception

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

9:05-10:45      Plenary Session in CCF: Key Concepts Roundtable featuring:

Marianne Hirsch (Columbia), Gayatri Gopinath (NYU), Martha Langford (Concordia), Laura Wexler (Yale), Deborah Willis (NYU)

Panel Sessions 1 – 11:00 to 12:45

(Post)Colonial Albums // Trinity College (Combo Room)

· Candice Jansen (Wits Institute) “Complicities of the Image: Cedric Nunn and the Black Family in Struggle”

· Sandrine Colard-De Bock (Columbia University), “Becoming the Bourgeois African in the colonial Congo: Two Families in the Picture”

· John Peffer (Ramapo), “When a Photograph is Family: Thoughts on Audience and Image in Africa”


Feminizing Affective Communities // Munk 023N              

· Sharon Sliwinski (UWO), “Photography—Our Mother Complex”

· Erina Duganne (Texas State University), “Family Photography and the Global Struggle for Human Rights”

· Dot Tuer (OCADU), “Talismans and Traces: State Terror, Absent Bodies and Reframing the Family Photograph”


Akin: Conventions of Childhood // Munk 108N

· Jennifer Orpana, “Childhood Snapshots: Transnational Conventions in Family Photography” (ROM)

· Daniel Magilow (UT- Knoxville), “Cute Jews: On Nahum Gidal’s Judische Kinder in Erez Israel Ein Photobuch

·  LiLi Johnson (Yale), “Transnational Chinese Adoptions”


Intimate Economies from analog to digital eras // Munk 208N

· Ali Feser (Chicago University), “Photochemical Kinship in the Image Capital of the World”

· Sarah Brophy (McMaster), “Angus McBean’s Queer Domestic Surrealism and a Prehistory of Selfie Culture”

· Sophie Hackett (AGO), “Zun Lee’s Fade Resistance”


Panel Sessions 2 – 2:30 to 4:30

Masculinities // Munk 023N

· Adria Imada (UC Irvine), “Dreaming in Pictures: “Family” Albums and Kinship during Medical Incarceration”

· Franny Nudelman (Carleton University), “Reframing Postmortem Photography: Tim Hetherington’s ‘Sleeping Soldiers’”

· Georgiana Banita (Bamberg University), “The Refuge of Photography: Framing Migrant Men”


Politicizing Family // Munk 108N          

· Drew Thompson (Bard College), “Não há nada (“There is nothing”)”: The Absence of Retratos in Independent Mozambique”

· Kimberly Juanita Brown (Mount Holyoke College), “Next of Kin: Photographic Mortevivum and the Violence of Proximity”

· Autumn Womack (University of Pittsburgh), “What of the Family of the Dead?: The Family Photograph as Lynching Photography”


Unsettled: Settler-colonial Relations and

Aboriginal Kinship // Munk 208N

· Andrea Doucet (Brock), “The ethics and aesthetics of remembrance in the aftermath of catastrophe”

· Reilley Bishop-Stall  (McGill), “Friction and Familiarity in Family Photo Albums: A Residential School Teacher’s Photographic Legacy”

· Sharon Huebner (Monash University), “Disrupting Colonial Imaginaries: Photographs of Australian Aboriginal ancestors as a cultural device for activating intergenerational pride and kinship responsibility”


4:45-6:00    Plenary Session:

                     Richard Hill (Emily Carr)

                      Carol Payne (Carleton), “Photography, Family, and Inuit Culture”

6:30              Wine and Cheese reception


Saturday, September 23, 2017

9:00-10:45   Plenary Session : Collecting and Archiving Family Photographs, featuring Mark Sealy (Autograph ABP, UK), Rahaab Allana (Alkazi Collection, India), Luce Lebart Canada (Canadian Photography Institute), Fiona Kinsey (Museum Victoria, Australia)


Panel Sessions 311:00 to 12:45                  

Visual Diasporas//  Munk 023N          

· Leigh Raiford (UC Berkeley), “‘1World1Family’: Collecting the African Diaspora Family Album”

· Lily Cho (York), “Diaspora in the Darkroom: theorizing chromogenic process and ontologies of diasporic connection”

· Sabeena Gadihoke, “The Partition in a Digital Age: An Archeology of Family Photographs through Absence and Presence”


Secrecy // Munk 108N           

· Afseneh Najmabadi (Harvard), “With a Whole Family—the Stories One Can Tell”

· Sara Davidmann (independent artist), “Ken. To be destroyed”

· Erin Gray (UCLA), “America’s ‘Concrete Universal’: Excising Lynching from The Family of Man”


Cold War Generations  // Munk 208N

· Iyko Day (Mt. Holyoke), “Nuclear Family Photography and Generational Memory”

· Jung Joon Lee (RISD), “Orphan Nation: Remembering the Korean War as Family-Nation”

· Alexandra Tait (University College, London), “Kustlerehepaar: I.G.G.R.”


Panel Session 42:30 to 4:15        

Wedding Photos // Munk 023N             

· Suryanandini Narain (Jawaharlal Nehru University), “Indian Wedding Photos”

· Jeehey Kim (Carter Museum), “Funerary Portrait Photography and Ghost/Spirit Marriage in East Asia”

· Shawn Michelle Smith (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), “Too Many Men”


Extra-familial frames // Munk 108N   

· Deborah Weinstein (Brown), “Animals in Family Photographs”

· Linda Steer (Brock), “Between “Russia’s Trainspotting” and “the presumption of innocence”: Making Meaning of Irina Popova’s Another Family”

· Heather Diack (University of Miami), “We Are Family: Leslie Hewitt’s Riff’s On Real Time


Racialized Citizenship and Non-citizenship // Munk 208N

· Gabrielle Moser (OCADU), “Familial Ties and Citizen Claims: Photography, Race and Citizenship in African Canadian Newspapers”

· Julia Lum (Yale), “Narrating Visibility: Chinese Canadian Family Photography and the Exclusion Period, 1923-67”

· Nadine Attewell (McMaster), “Intimations of Abundance: Working-Class Family Photography and the Look of Mixed Race”


4:30-5:45        Plenary Session: Tina Campt (Barnard College) and Nicole Fleetwood (Rutgers)

                         Concluding remarks

7:00pm           Closing Banquet