Each year I run the New York Marathon in partnership with Fred’s Team which is connected to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This year, I’m offering a family portrait session in exchange for a minimum donation of $300. It feels good to use my portrait photography to help fund a cause that will ultimately keep family units together longer.
I don’t make any money on this arrangement except on the sale of prints. That really isn’t the point of this project, I am, perhaps foolishly, using it as an opportunity to reconnect with people and support an important cause instead of making money. If I do the first two things, the rest will take care of itself.
How do we maintain connections over a lifetime? What makes a family when biology is out of the equation? How do we define ourselves in a close relationships? I don’t know if photography can answer those questions, but for me, it reveals how some people are doing it. I learn a lot about relationships by photographing people in relationships. My definition of family is pretty open to interpretation. I’m interested in seeing how others define a family unit for themselves. Once an anthropology major, always an anthropology major.
Good relationships take time. People who commission me for a portrait understand this too. Portraits are not just about who we are, but who we want to be. It is good to have an image of that ideal available. A successful portrait reveals both those truths.