Tag Archives: photographs

Family Reunion (life cycle celebration)

“Growing up [my family and I] always went to [our family reunion]. We usually met in a church. Mom’s dad and all his brother’s and sisters, and all of us, we’d gather to eat and see each other – fried chicken, cream corn, corn bread, green beans, etc. We’d all just catch up and [my mom] and her sisters would sing for everyone – something folky – and then we’d take pictures. So me and granddad and grandma and mom and dad and me and my brothers, and all my first and second cousins were all in one picture, and then other sides or groups of thee family would take their own.”

My informant told me all about the family reunions he attended annually as he was growing up. He doesn’t attend them anymore, as many of those family members have passed away or become busy with their own families.

When I asked him what the reunion meant to him-

“We did it every year, in the summer – usually August. It was nice out, it was nice to see each other. We’re usually all scattered about. I love my family, I like talking to them, catching up with them.”

He is from North Carolina, part of the southern United States, he recounts, but couldn’t specify folk music shared among his family, and the food he described distinctly stuck out as traditional southern comfort food. As his family is not normally all together is this larger collective, it must feel quite nostalgic to come together and share these songs and classic food together.

He also speaks about the photos they always took, and though he didn’t speak on this himself, I wonder about how each picture changes through every passing year and how the image of their family dynamics change. It sounds like his family, whether it is intentional or not, were preserving this knowledge and part of their families history through photography.