Review: (un)expected families


Priya Karumanchi

“Untitled” by Nicholas Nixon captures two men in a body of water. The (un)expected families exhibit documents different households that do not fit the norm.

Priya Karumanchi, Staff Writer

Both color and black-and-white photographs fill the the gray room with dimmed lighting. The silvery-gray background helps to really showcase the bold images. Many photographs fill the exhibit all made with the same media, but all so different at the same time. From black and white photos from the 19th century photos to pictures taken just last year, there are photos of all kind to light up the exhibition.

The (un)expected families exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts has over 80 photographs of American families throughout the United States from the 19th century to present day by American photographers. The purpose of the exhibit is to show how every family is unique.

The immediate impression of the exhibit starts with the incredible sizes of the images. The photographs are taken by different artists such as Zoe Perry-Wood, Milton Rogovin and Nicholas Nixon.

Each artist has a unique style, by using different types of angles and lighting. Many of the pictures have multiple people in them, but there are also portraits of individual people. There are some headshots, while others are full bodies. One photo that drew my attention was a headshot of a man who looked like he was in the army. The main draw of the photo was that he was by himself and wearing what appeared as an army suit (unlike the rest of the photos). Most of the photos had other people in them which made them feel a bit repetitive.

Another specific image that caught my eye was a frame with a black-and-white photo of many children looking directly at the camera. It gave the opportunity to interpret the photo however one chose. The kids looked like they could be at school because they were standing behind a desk, but also seemed a little dressed up for the day. It could have even been a family reunion with all the kids in the family in the photo. The expressions on the kids’ faces were all mixed. Some looked as if they were shouting while some just smiled and posed.

Families of all different dynamics were present in the artwork. There were families with two moms or two dads, some images with just siblings, some with their significant other and many more. This shows how varied families can be. One image that portrayed a version of an American family was by Zoe Perry-Wood and it showed two men about the same age hugging each other while looking directly at the camera.

This exhibit is really a show stopper because it demonstrates that one does not need to have a “typical” family. The (un)expected families exhibit shows that there are many different types of families all throughout the United States.

You can visit the (un)expected families exhibit until June 24th, 2018 to see the stunning photos for yourself.