July 1, 2016 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

Supermarket Protests, New Jersey, 1963
Steve Schapiro: Supermarket Protest, New Jersey, 1963

Wanderlust and encounters of the American family in pictures.
July 1 through September 18, 2016

A selection of 50 photographs that represents a collective American Family Album: an offbeat and absorbing portrait of the American experience. Unusual, timeless, irrational; these anonymous memories of America are not what we expect. The images are an elusive vision of a country without limits and challenge us to reinterpret the impact, value, and status of photographs we encounter in our daily lives. There may be no Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures in the exhibition, but the photographs are nonetheless glorious in their innocence.

Racers, West Hartland, Connecticut, 1953
Guy Gillette: Racers, West Heartland, Connecticut, 1953

Although family photo albums have only been in existence for over one hundred years, now they are virtually obsolete, often replaced by an overload of digital images scattered across our many devices.  Concurrently, smaller and more advanced cameras helped contribute to the success of picture magazines and led to more photographs in newspapers. Photographers documented the major events of our collective history, with a particular emphasis on "big events" and newsworthy happenings. But these photographers also photographed the lives of average folks and their everyday unique American experiences. Professional photographers explored the American landscape in the hopes of finding average individuals in everyday settings and creating pictures that illustrate the idiosyncrasies of people, objects, and places discovered on the journey. During the heyday of magazine photography, the wanderlust of the American family often provided a narrative that comprised the American experience.

"The mission of photography is to explain man to man and man to himself. And that is no mean function. Man is the most complicated thing on earth and also as naïve as a tender plant." - Edward Steichen

View the exhibition here.

Tags: photojournalism American experience family American pictures family photography