“Genetic Material” is an exhibition put on by Claire Becket’s portrait class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, featuring the work of Fatima Albudoor, Meg Bergstrand, Aaron John Bourque, Emil Cohen, Cassandra Klos, Rene Morisson, Birdie Piccininni, Dayna Rochell, Simone Schiess, and Matt Williams. The photographs shown seem to fall into four main categories.
Some of the photographers re-photographed found documents imbued with personal histories.
Others show formal portraits of family members. Whether the artist literally appears in these photos or not, each family portrait firmly contains the artist’s presence. Directing and collaborating with family members to create a portrait can be a ritualized way for photographers to share their experience of viewing life and relationships through a photographic lens.
Inanimate objects also stand in for literal people, potent environmental details that capture something of what makes up a particular home.
The show also features snapshots that fall at the intersection between vernacular and fine art photography.
Through its many approaches to photographing family, “Genetic Material” susses out common themes that unite the show without erasing its complexity. The show hones in on specific details that engage the viewer and features the high level of technical quality throughout that always makes me love seeing SMFA photo shows. “Genetic Material” is on view in the atrium of the SMFA until November 20th, be sure to check it out!