When the whole family gets together, it's not unusual to mark the special occasion with a family portrait. Some families coordinate outfits, everyone crams together, and someone is always grumpy about having to pose for the picture. It's quality family time that, at some point, just about everyone has experienced.
Interested in this dynamic, New York-based photographer Jamie Diamond created a collection of what appear to be conventional family portraits. Without knowing any better, viewers will quickly jump to the conclusion that the images feature a group of loved ones. However, in reality, the people are strangers, awkwardly performing for the camera. To create the series, entitled Constructed Family Portraits, Diamond finds individuals in public or via Craigslist and then asks everyone to meet her in a rented hotel room where she assembles a fictional family.
During the photo shoot, the artist finds that the individuals begin to play a part as the collective whole, assuming an identity that fits nicely within the framework of the group. As the strangers transform into an imaginary family, Diamond says, “They intuitively follow the rules of the genre and the group they form for the camera ascribes them an identity.” Behind the smiles, one can only imagine what each person is thinking, surrounded by strangers within such an intimate setting.