No type of art work attracts more attention in our time than personal photograpy, the photography of relatives and friends, of beloved ones ... .
Walter Benjamin
Short History of Photography (1931)
The family is a universal way of life which exists in one way or another world wide. It is one of the most important institutions for the transfer of ethical and moral values such as love, unity, conflict resolution, responsibility, tolerance and security .
The Family portraits exposition presents a contemporary picture of the family ways of life in the twin cities of Berlin, Los Angeles and Moscow. The exposition hopes to establish a meeting point for the citizens, families and peoples and to stimulate them to mutual dialog.
In Berlin this Project was shaped by about 35 young amateur photographers from 10 boroughs of the city. Each photoshooting team captured the portraits of about fifteen families living in each borough and with different origins, size and nationality. Each of the families attempts to give a personal answer to the question: "What does the family mean to us?"
So far there are four photoexhibitions: in Hohenshonhausen, Pankow, Treptow and Friedrichshain. The boroughs of Spandau, Marzahn, Schoneberg, Charlottenburg, Neukoln, and Zehlendorf will follow additionally.
The family, a private and a public theme; the berliner family portraits and their views were exhibited in public places, city halls, libraries, supermarkets, shoping malls.
The central exhibition Family Portraits Berlin - Moscow - Los Angeles will be available to the public in April 2002. It will be opened with a family ball dance. Conclusively the exhibition will move to Los Angeles and Moscow. The partners of the project are for Los Angeles - the Department of Art and Photography of the California State University, Northridge, for Moscow - the museum Moscow House of Photography.
The Family Portraits project is realised by the Berlin branch of Union for socio-cultural Work. The Youth and Family Fond of the state of Berlin as well as district and independent youth organisations sponsor the idea.
Herbert Bents
March 2001

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