Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyWith self-conscious invasiveness, 66 expert photographers, including Annie Liebowitz, Tony Mendoza, Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz, focus on their parents, siblings, spouses and children in this unsettling, often arch and excessively postured composite family album. Nudity and specialty arrangements abound, as in Patrick Zachmann's shot of a pregnant woman lying in a bathtub, a cartoon embryo drawn on her belly. David Hockney's assemblage The Scrabble Game and Carrie M. Weems's unstudied views of her sisters possess an authority and verve less convincingly demonstrated in many other, artfully posed and cropped, contributions. While Grundberg, chief curator of the Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Center in San Francisco, suggests the photographers are ``honest with their feelings and free with their medium,'' there remains an exploitative quality to many of these shots--in color or black-and-white--that undermines their authenticity and emotionality. Accompanying commentary by some photographers often provides valuable context. (Nov.)
Gretchen GarnerOne wants to admire this book. It is full of interesting pictures made by an excellent group of 66 contemporary photographers, and there are statements from and good biographical information about each. The reproductions are excellent, both in color and black-and-white. And the types of family situations pictured break down some barriers--we see illness, depression, and even death as well as the more usual pleasant family scenes. But the collection disappoints because it does nothing to expand the notion of family. Aside from considering Bill Wegman's dogs (this is his family?) and one nonmarried pair of lovers, family is defined as birth family or heterosexual pair. Homosexuals are included only in relation to their parents or siblings. What, in 1992, is the point of putting together a book of new images of the family that does not acknowledge same-sex commitments? Whether this was the photographers' choice or the editors' doesn't really matter--the bottom line is that we learn nothing new about families; we just see the familiar confirmed.
- Picture Project, Incorporated
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- 9.25(w) x 10.50(h) x (d)
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