New York

Philip Tsiaras

Shea & Beker

This collection of black and white family photographs (Family Album, 1979–89) is perhaps the most amazing such record I have ever seen. The camera has always been an intrusive instrument, partially falsifying what it records, especially in the case of private life. It can barely do justice to the quality of emotion that binds the figures it analyzes: it cannot easily get at the connection between these figures, the core of their intimacy. The camera tends to betray the feelings it records by socializing them, making them passive signs of a public code of expression rather than active responses particular to an individual. By calling attention to itself, the camera redirects emotion: people begin to act their feelings rather than simply have them. This externalization undermines the integrity of the feeling being recorded, in a sense making it less real.

Philip Tsiaras has overcome this

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