[extra]Ordinary Families...

Every family is unique, but is this really reflected in the filtered world we see on our screens? For too long, family photography has been about creating a beautifully posed portrait of the perfect family. But what effect does this have on anyone living within a family that does not easily fit this ideal?

preteen environmental portrait in bedroom strewn with toys

[extra]Ordinary Families

If you have found yourself here, then you are considering taking part in this documentary photography project all about families. But obviously you have questions. Hopefully I can answer some of those here, and help you to decide whether this project is right for you and your family.

First of all, let me introduce myself – I am Vicki, a documentary family photographer based in County Durham. I photograph family parties, outdoor adventures, holidays and special occasions. But the thing I love to photograph most of all is a family just hanging out together at home. There is a simple beauty in everyday moments.

black and white of brother and sister eating a picnic at an out door family photoshoot

What is this project all about?

I love capturing all the highs and lows of family life – the love and laughter, the tears and tantrums. For me, real life is beautiful just the way it is, without poses or filters. That is the ethos that my photography business is founded on. However, some families still feel that a photography session is not for them. These are families that are not being represented by everyday imagery on what it means to be part of a family unit. I want this project to tell the story of some of these families. 

Who will be involved in the project?

I am hoping to work with families who don’t feel that traditional family photoshoots are for them; who feel there are barriers that prevent them from having family photos taken. Barriers such as (but not limited to) disability, health, neurodivergence, cultural expectations, financial constraints or non-typical family dynamics.

What will taking part involve?

It is very important to me that everyone taking part in the project, including all children, feel comfortable with the process. This means that it is not going to be a quick photoshoot, rather a relationship that develops between the photographer and the family, where we get to know each other and take some photographs along the way.

When will the project happen?

The project will develop throughout 2023 and 2024. Some families might have just the one visit, but I foresee that some families might like to have different parts of their story recorded and this might require multiple visits over the course of a year or two. The sessions can occur at times and on days that suit each family.

Where will the photographs be taken?

The most obvious place for the sessions to take place is in the family home, but sometimes families have another setting that is integral to their story, such as an allotment, a family business, a grandparents’ house, a residential setting or a medical establishment. It might be that we choose to take some photos in these settings too. It may also be appropriate to take photos out and about if that aligns with the story we are trying to record.

How will the images be used?

You will be given access to the gallery of images to download and keep. Some of the images will be shared to my website and social media, so you do need to be OK with this from the start of the project (participants will need to sign a model release form). Because the project will develop organically as a direct response to the family stories captured, there is no defined end point. However similar photography projects have resulted in photobooks and exhibitions, and these might be options for sharing the work in the future. 

How do I get involved?

If you feel that you and your family are a good fit for this project I’d love to hear from you. Please complete the form below and I will be in touch.