Photographs by Todd Deutsch
2009, 66 pp., 34 color illustrations, softbound, 7.25×5.5″
$25.00 + 5.00 shipping to U.S.
I started making photographs of my family shortly before my first son was born in 1997. The pictures became a way to maintain an even keel in the midst of rapid change. We now have three boys and are awaiting a fourth. As they grow older the desire for assurance that everything will fall into place is undermined by the reality that no such certainty exists. There is no single destination, only perpetual movement. Being a father, as it turns out, is a process of constant adjustment and evaluation. I find myself being carried along by the current rather than heading deliberately and confidently forward. I am chasing the family drift with the hope that knowing where we have been will provide insight into where we are going.
My great- grandparents recorded milestone events in a family bible. Birth, baptism, marriage, and death created a simple and reliable narrative path describing our family history. These records are now kept in photo albums. Although the format has a less religious overtone, the element of ritual remains intact. Yearly school photographs, along with snapshots of birthdays, holidays, and vacations make up the bulk of these obviously selective, routine histories. They describe an optimistically simple and peaceful version of family life; one in which change is predictable and effortless. But what is left is a broad outline that ignores the complexity and richness of the life it is meant to recall. The reality, of course, is that it has never been as peaceful (or organized as efficiently) as the photographs might suggest. Chasing the Family Drift is a way of staying mindful of the time spent in the gaps.
Photographs from the project can be seen at www.todddeutsch.com