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Institute of Ethonology and Folklore Research
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  • Fotografija
  • Obiteljska Fotografija
  • Obiteljsko Pamćenje
  • Mit
  • Photography
  • Family Photography
  • Familial Memory
  • Myth
  • Linguistics


In this article, family photography is considered through the works of well-known theorists such as Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Eduardo Cadava and Victor Burgin, through which process a theoretical mainstay is sought at semiotic and structuralist levels that lead to understanding of the role of direct human experience in the interpretation of photography. The particularities of the photographic medium and its possible influence in creating family remembrance are stressed in that sense. In the first place, this points to the interpretative potential that the snapshot abounds in, which is necessarily shaped by the experience of reality and participation in it. In this respect, the chapter on narrative photography is shown by way of the network of views of the snapshots that circulate within a particular family, or what Marriane Hirsch calls the familial gaze. The familial gaze is a network of familial looks, that is, family perceptions that are enrooted in a particular social and cultural context, made up of small, local, sensitive familial looks. The familial perception or gaze always imposes itself on the familial look and, with its force, locates it in the particular frames of the generally accepted image of the family in society (Hirsch 1997:11), which is very similar to that in the mythic ideal, the unattainable. The aura of the family photographs that is realised through memory has to be nurtured, since each ideal moment of a family, of which myths are constructed, also survives in that way. The ideal family myth is actualised through remembrance and then survives visually in family photography.

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