This body of work is based around notions of interconnectedness spanning from connections with deceased family members to concerns about dividing forces in our current political climate. It pulls on traditional craft practices and harkens to the long craft tradition in Southern Appalachia. It utilizes threads and fabrics as symbols of interdependency.
I have finally posted a small collection of photos from Thanksgiving break… I’m trying not to think too metaphorically about why I haven’t posted yet as I hurdle towards Christmas break.
The Family Album Project work is now viewable online, and may also be ordered via a password and Blurb.
Cover of the Eberhart Family Album, 2016 by Evans Ousley
Thanks to the Documentary Photography class of Fall 2016, the many families in Tracy City Family Co-op, the Community Engaged Learning program at Sewanee, and especially to Brooke Irvine, Sherry Guyear and Sara Griswold-Brown for helping us establish and sustain this collaboration.
If you are interested in starting a similar project in your community, please take a look at the Project and then contact Pradip Malde.
Family and Friends
I am the green one with a gigantic head. She said we were friends now, and the little one was her brother.
As the Family Album project comes to its closure, I want to share just a few moments between me and my family with everyone. My family is very responsible, trusting and dedicated to this project, both mother and father would drive me back and forth to their house and Sewanee if I needed and they would also take time and make plans for each session as we met. Through this project, I have become friends with their two adorable kids, one was five, the other only three. Just a week ago during Thanksgiving, the mother texted me that the little one even sang a song for me(didn’t tell me what song it was).
This Project offered me two great gifts that I would always cherish in my life, trust and growth. It was always a strange feeling to me and the parents that I, a total stranger, would start taking pictures around or by the family out of sudden as we spoke or as they played games.A sense of “tension”, as Pradip called it. But they would always “act” naturally in front of me, so I could do my job. The process of understating this happened so quickly and yet profoundly in my mind. Suddenly, a lot of the things in the readings made more sense to me. It has always been easy with the kids, they always seemed to be very natural and relaxed in front of the lens, and this made my job so much easier(they would ask to press my camera shutter).
It has also been a learning process for me to just be with the family as the project went along. The kids are so “moody” and “emotional”, mostly at home and even sometimes in public, and the parents are so dedicated to “work” with the children while finding the balance for themselves. All these moments of this family or any other family never occurred to me before. From this, I learned more about what it meant to be a family, and the joy and sacrifice that both came with it.
I hope I will see this family again.
Well, just like that, and the year is almost over. This photo was taken towards the end of the drought that fell over Tennessee for the majority of November, before cold rain and gusty winds blew through the plateau and knocked all the crinkled leaves on the floor. I like to think you can almost see the dry air suspended over the hills in the background. A brief pause before finally letting all the rain fall down.
Thanksgiving break, 730 miles to family. The same 730 miles of straight , flat road seen at least once a year for almost all of my life. NPR, podcasts, music, and books on tape are the soundtrack to one continuos long shot of farms, darkened by winter interspersed with various towns, each their own character.
Although long, squished and almost too familiar, the ride is a small part of the large memories and experiences shared with family in the Outer Banks. Somehow we all find are way back, even after hundreds or thousands of miles apart.
I’m currently boycotting Nat Geo, but I had too much fun admiring the composition of some of these photos not to share.
Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for the past nine years. It began to appeal to me after my family shrunk from five to four. We developed a stronger appreciation for the time spent with one another when we saw how truly fleeting time could be. Then last year came and divided us even more when my parents separated in the summer of 2015. We did not shrink as a family again but rather readjusted our positions. Add a case of mono to that, stir with some icy tensions, strain the conversation, and you have the perfectly tense Thanksgiving-2015-martini. Tensions were eased eventually, and then my mom remarried. Her remarrying did not cause too much of a ruckus. It solidified things in my dad’s mind, made her extremely happy, and introduced a new family to Dawson and me. Because of this new addition, Thanksgiving was a new territory this time around. It returned to the theme of family, which I enjoyed, but it was with a new family. Thankfully, it went very well. Connections were built, waist sizes grew, and Trump was only brought up once.
Last week was the first time I have gone home in the middle of the semester during my time as a student at Sewanee. Traveling would not be traveling if there wasn’t a little trouble, so naturally my phone lost cellular service a few days before I was flying home. While I was first very annoyed at the prospect of running through the Dallas airport (a nightmare) without being able to use my phone to direct me to the correct terminal to catch my flight to Seattle, I found it very refreshing not to have access to the world beyond during the entirety of break. Since moving to Seattle five years ago, my family has only spent two Thanksgiving holidays at home so we haven’t made any family traditions of our own. Instead we spent the whole weekend with my best friend’s family, adventuring all around downtown Seattle on Black Friday beginning with a parade at 9:00 am and ending with the Christmas tree lighting around 6:00 pm. Without the use of my phone I was able to be wholly present with those I love most and to enjoy the city that I have come to call home, and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend a few days away from my busy life at school and be rejuvenated by my friends and family.
Here are a few photographs from my travels.