You know those cheesy group family shots that your parents pull out anytime you introduce them to a new friend? You were probably wearing acid washed Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls with a few teeth missing- right after that time you got a hold of scissors and cut your own hair, standing behind your mom, hands neatly folded on her shoulder pad. What if rather than uncomfortably posing with the people you’re closest to, your arms rested on the shoulders of a complete stranger? Creating that surreal experience is exactly what NYC based photographer Jamie Diamond did for a series called Constructed Family Portraits. Seeking out strangers in public and via Craigslist, the artist met people in hotel rooms to awkwardly compose the “picture perfect” holiday card that nobody would ever have.
According to Diamond’s artist statement:
I am interested in the shifting paradigm of the traditional family structure and in the paradox of the familiar. The portraits are of actual people being themselves in an entirely new context; they intuitively follow the rules of the genre and the group they form for the camera ascribes them an identity. I am constantly questioning the past and present narrative, the still and moving image, and the space between authentic experience and artifice.
As much of a sociology project as a photography experience, Diamond’s results are as awkward as they are hilarious. Check out more photos from this and other series at JamieGDiamond.com.