Family Portraits in Changing Times

Family Portraits in Changing Times

by Helen Nestor
     
 

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Family Portraits in Changing Times profiles a cross section of families that reflect the significant changes taking place in the United States. Individuals tell their own unique stories, illustrating the ways in which families grow, disintegrate, regroup, and transform over time. Individual families, like the individual humans who compose them, are always in flux. The…  See more details below

Overview

Family Portraits in Changing Times profiles a cross section of families that reflect the significant changes taking place in the United States. Individuals tell their own unique stories, illustrating the ways in which families grow, disintegrate, regroup, and transform over time. Individual families, like the individual humans who compose them, are always in flux. The families in this book represent a variety of interpersonal, interdependent relationships, including households in which the parents and/or children may be multiracial, multigenerational, divorced, single, step-family, physically disabled, adopted, gay, or lesbian. Seven of the families were first photographed in the 1970s and rephotographed more than a decade later, offering a striking visual comparison of the considerable changes a family experiences over the years. What had been regarded as the nontraditional family in the 1980s simply because of its composition has been supplemented by change not only in composition but also in ways of functioning and role definition within the family. With less than 15 percent of households in the U.S. comprised of the traditional breadwinner father, homemaker mother, and their two birth children, today's nontraditional families have become the mainstream. Judith Stacey, a sociology professor and family scholar who wrote the foreword to this book, calls this the "post-modern family." The photographs and personal stories in Family Portraits in Changing Times offer insights and greater understanding into the constellation of new families in the U.S.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nestor, who began photographing nontraditional families in the 1970s, decided in 1988 to show how the traditional American family unit--breadwinner father, homemaker mother, two children--was being replaced by a variety of new arrangements. Her 30 black-and-white family portraits are an eloquent plea for tolerance, suggesting the ordinariness of love in a family with a gay father who is not married to the mother; the not-yet-resolved tension between a single mother and her grown daughter; the acceptance within a large Quaker family of several adoptees from Vietnam and Korea; and the bridge two interracial children apparently form between their white father and black mother. Most of the people photographed contribute brief descriptions of their lives. The book is sometimes confusing because Nestor's definition of the nontraditional family is so broad: readers may find that a black family in which the husband took early retirement and works at home is more ``traditional'' than a family in which both parents have cerebral palsy and use wheelchairs. Nestor could have improved the book had she addressed the relative differences in societal stress faced by her subjects. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Although only two finished photographs of the some 33 families visited in this work were available at review time, it is apparent that photographer Nestor has created a book that is visually as well as intellectually interesting. Her project, documenting the experiences and nurturing concerns of parents in many different kinds of nontraditional family arrangements, combines fine photography with short personal essays (often poignant) by the people whose lives are here briefly exposed. It's a fascinating and ultimately thought-provoking volume that will probably appeal the most to the general socially interested reader; however, professionals involved with children and their caregivers will find the stories' messages very relevant to the planning and decision making they must do. For most social science collections.-- Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- Outstanding, honest first-person sketches of 32 nontraditional American families. Nestor published a collection of photographs featuring 40 families in the 1970s, and in 1988 she revisited them to see how they had fared. Many had disintegrated, divorced, broken up, regrouped, moved to distant places, or disappeared. Nine from that volume appear in this book and additional families have been included. These artful photographic essays document the diversity of contemporary lifestyles. The book belongs in every library that serves young adults.-- Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780939165155
Publisher:
NewSage Press, LLC
Publication date:
04/20/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
9.07(w) x 12.03(h) x 0.48(d)

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