What is a Family Narrative?

February 23, 2017

I decided a little while back that I want to try to take my photography in a little bit of a new direction. I love being able to tell stories through pictures. I got my bachelors degree in fine art and I learned so much about stories and images there. A lot can be said through just one picture without any words. This is great for me, because I’m a girl who is not a big fan of writing words in the first place (which is why you will see I don’t add a bunch of words to by pictures when I post them). So I’ve been thinking about what I love about photography and I really love telling stories through my pictures. I love stories and I have decided to begin focusing more on telling your story. I want to come to your house on Saturday morning for pancakes. I want to join you on your trip to the library for story time. I want to be at your home when you give your new baby her first bath. I want come with you to Kroger when you do your weekly shopping with 4 kids in tow. I want to come to your child’s baseball game to capture the up and downs of the sport.  There are so many “normal” memories worth capturing.

When I decided to pursue this with my photography I began to do some research about “family narratives”, what I found was fascinating. Basically, research shows that if your children have a strong sense of their family history (narrative) then they will grow up to be more self confident, have less anxiety, fewer behavioral problems and better chance for positive outcomes when faced with trials. Knowing that their grandpa served in the military and faced hardship and overcame it, will help the child to know that when they face trials they too can overcome. Or knowing that mom and dad got married in a church shows them that their might be a spiritual side to mom and dad that they can rest on. It’s good to know that dad worked in a fried chicken restaurant through high school to pay for his own car, giving the child a sense of self dependency.

“Creating a shared history by reminiscing helps to maintain emotional bonds within a family. Narratives, or stories, about one’s past, are the way in which individuals make sense of their experiences and create meaning, both for themselves and for their families.  In a very real way, narratives become the defining expression of our autobiographical memories, memories of our self over time that help to define who we are and how we relate to other people.” ~Emory University

What I’m proposing is that I can come and photograph your normal every day joys and trails so that when you and your children look back on their childhood you can all say, “hey look, even though Bekah had a lot of tantrums as a 2 year old, we had so much love and joy in our life, see look at that picture of all of us laughing when the dog licked her on the mouth”. Your kids can look at the pictures and say “Mom included us in even the mundane chore of grocery shopping and made it fun”. It’s these stories and memories that can shape and define child.



Family Narrative: How Our Stories Shape us

Family Narrative Interaction and Children’s Sense of Self