Fam­i­ly Matters

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2020

Gillian Laub’s pho­tographs of her fam­i­ly from the past twen­ty years, now col­lect­ed in one vol­ume, explore the ways soci­ety’s biggest ques­tions are revealed in our most inti­mate relationships.

Fam­i­ly Mat­ters zeroes in on the artist’s fam­i­ly as an exam­ple of the way Don­ald Trump’s knack for sow­ing dis­cord and divi­sion has impact­ed com­mu­ni­ties, indi­vid­u­als, and house­holds across the coun­try. As Laub explains, I began to unpack my rela­tion­ship to my rel­a­tives‚ which turned out to be much more indica­tive of my rela­tion­ship to the out­side world than I had ever thought, and the key to explor­ing ques­tions I had about the effects of wealth, van­i­ty, child­hood, aging, fragili­ty, polit­i­cal con­flict, reli­gious tra­di­tions, and mor­tal­i­ty.” These issues became tan­gi­ble in 2016, when Laub and her par­ents found them­selves on oppos­ing sides of the most divi­sive pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in recent US his­to­ry; and fur­ther exac­er­bat­ed in the lead-up to the 2020 elec­tion, in the wake of a glob­al pan­dem­ic and protests in sup­port of Black Lives Matter.

Fam­i­ly Mat­ters reveals Laub’s will­ing­ness to con­front ideas of priv­i­lege and uni­ty, and to expose the fault lines and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of her rel­a­tives and her­self. Ulti­mate­ly, Fam­i­ly Mat­ters cel­e­brates the resilien­cy and pow­er of fam­i­ly – includ­ing the fam­i­ly we choose – in the face of divi­sive rhetoric. In doing so, it holds up a high­ly per­son­al­ized mir­ror to the social and polit­i­cal divides in the Unit­ed States today.

Discussion Questions