LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.- The family photograph, an integral part of every American household, is a valued chronicle of personal and community history and experience. The new exhibition Close to Home: An American Album, at the Getty Center through January 16, 2005, gathers snapshots taken by families from across the country, offering a journey down the memory lane of American social experience.
Close to Home features nearly 200 black-and-white and color photographs made between 1930 and the mid-1960s, as well as several early examples of family portraiture from the mid-1800s. The exhibition is introduced with works from well-known photographers, such as Thomas Eakins, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange, which have been drawn from the Getty's strong collection of photographs, and also includes more than 120 family snapshots by untrained makers. Many of these personal pictures were found by collectors and purchased over the years in open-air markets. The exhibition also features 25 prints created by Guy Stricherz from Kodachrome transparencies that were recovered from attics, drawers, and closets across the country and sent to him in response to an open call for old color slides. Stricherz's works, as well as the large group of anonymous snapshots, are drawn from private collections that are promised gifts to the Getty's photographs collection.
Accompanying the exhibition will be the publication Close to Home: An American Album, which will feature more than 100 photographs from the exhibition. The book will be available in mid-October.
Family snapshots commemorate an occasion, capture a moment, or secure a memory, and mark important milestones in the timeline of the American experience, from single life filled with friends and relationships, to marriage and family. They document the process of personal growth and worldly experience, the cultivation of material desires and the accompanying pride of ownership. In the exhibition, we see photographs of couples and groups of friends, parents holding babies, children at play, women in pretty dresses, families on vacation or at home, and people with their prized possessions, including cars, television sets, and pets. The images are all strangely familiar, imparting a sense of empathy and shared memory, even to those who never knew the subjects featured in the photographs.