This photo essay was entirely inspired by the strange, terrifying and beautiful dynamic of my father’s extended family. The photo progression, as well as lighting and my focus on pure human expression, develop the story of familial love and confusion, a group of people of various relation struggling and living with the imminent death of their kin. In my series, this saga took place during the last certain gathering of the full Gollin family clan, as a result of my father’s final stages of a long and difficult battle with a terminal illness.
This series aimed to create well composed yet deeply personal depictions of emotion and interconnectivity found among a far-flung but deeply invested network of family and friends. I took a variety of portraits, close-ups, and mid-range shots that were mostly candid, in that everyone was aware I was in the room and taking photos, but were not posed or pressured to compose themselves. Despite the underlying yet looming tone of the series, I also aimed to show genuine images of joy and love, as is inevitably part of life. My father is intentionally featured prominently in the series not purely due to my personal connection with him, but also as a means of visual symbolism for the way he is so centric to the other subjects’ lives during this critical period.
On a visual level, I chose a variety of angles, lighting, and hue, as well as what I later discovered to be a symbolically directional theme. This theme is found when noting that nearly everyone, despite different moods and times, faced left. Coincidentally, they are all incredibly liberal and were concurrently dealing with the recent election’s devastation.
The cool hue that dominates much of the series was created through a medium-low f-stop and the background illumination of a TV screen playing old Super 8 films. This visual feature contributes to the metaphorical depth of the series by enhancing certain shadows and illuminating intimately real expressions on the subjects of the series.