Family is a strong word…
We all have different family experiences and relationships that color the word and imagery evoked. Since the advent of photography to our current social media-saturated culture, photography is the very heart of how we represent and express our family values—privately, publicly, and sometimes controversially.
The concept of “family” has become increasingly inclusive paralleled by a focus of growing public exchange. Photographers have been at the leading edge of this cultural shift by raising questions that ask us to consider, “Whose family values?” No matter the basis—governmental, legal, love, lineage, support, companionship, responsibility, or shared beliefs—family values figure heavily in how we express our relationship to the world around us.
In one form or another, many of us have a family photographic archive, and the “family album” of photographs is often listed among our greatest treasures. Technological changes in recent decades have altered the nature of that archive. Social media sites have become virtual photo albums. Instead of printed family photographs shared in the privacy of the home, images most often exist in the pixels of our screens and shared instantaneously across the globe. How has this technology impacted our notions of intimacy?
Photographs, more than ever, influence our daily lives. The camera—a designed companion of family vacations, holidays, and special events—is ubiquitous as nearly everyone carries a camera phone in their pockets at all times. The omnipresence of the camera has altered the nature of both the volume and the kinds of photographs we make in our personal lives and the way we should address the teaching and learning of photography.
SPE’s annual national conference is a bit like a family reunion. We come together to share images, to think, to inspire, to be inspired, and to discuss our photographic and teaching practices with the members of our photographic family. We will gather in one of the most “family friendly” places in the world, Orlando, Florida, to explore how family – intimate, blood, intentional or extended – has impacted our lives, our practice, our teaching, and our ever-changing social and photographic landscape.
—Mark Malloy, 2017 Conference Chair
Mark Malloy, Chair
Peer Review Committee:
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Lupita Murillo Tinnen
Laine Wyatt, Chair