Julie Blackmon’s Domestic Vacations Photo Series Will Resonate With Anyone Brought Up In A Chaotic House
Julie Blackmon‘s ‘Domestic Vacations’ photography series is all about the home, a house full of chaos, of children, of the constant anarchy that underpins life in a busy family home. It’s a familiar theme, especially in Ireland, where families tend to be large. Or at least did. However, this is no documentary rather Blackmon draws her influences from the Dutch 17th Century painters – who were fascinated with detail, light and daily life – creating carefully constructed tableaux that exaggerate and enlighten us through her imagined stories that tell us more than any picture of ‘reality’ could.
What’s striking about her pictures is that it is the children that dominate each scenario, the adults are mere extras, on the edge of the frame, adding a little colour. Apparently it is a world Blackmon knows well as she is the oldest of nine children and has three of her own. Infact many of children and adults in her pictures are her sisters, nieces and nephews. Here’s what she has to say about family life;
I think we’re living at time when most women – never mind the official jobs they may have – are caught in this swirl of play dates, soccer games, and PTA, and our lives have gotten completely overscheduled and out of control…there’s this balancing act between wanting to give everything you have to people you love more than anything, and the desire to escape from them altogether.
To create these detailed images Blackmon makes numerous studies of the characters before creating the entire composition. She then shoots each subject individually and digitally constructs the picture manipulating the light, color and other elements of the scene to produce the final work. They really are a joy to look at and I’m sure resonate with anyone that’s been brought up in an anarchic household.
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