Sophie Barbasch‘s photographs from ‘Fault Line’ open up a personal dialogue between the photographer and her family while touching on a universal reality that affects all families and their relationships with each other.
Families bring out the best and the worst in us. Within a familial structure we are both more ourselves yet simultaneously locked in a perpetual role play, deemed to act out a position and emotional character that was invested in us since we were children. This strange juxtaposition of freedom of mind and emotional imprisonment can create dissonance, a warped series of connections between members of a family, and it’s this convolution of ties and bonds that Barbasch explores in these photographs.
Following several men in her family, and in particular her younger cousin Adam, Barbasch travelled to Maine and began working with him, her brother, father and other cousins to recreate a series of scenes that took place in the past; arguments, disappointments and struggles. Through carefully staged performative actions and scenarios – that seek to engender the feelings of heaviness and uncertainty – she created a poem to unconditional love and the deep problems that underlie it. The tensions and fallouts that can only occur in families. Between blood .
This dynamic is accentuated through the stark New England landscape, the grey, cold, harsh weather permeating through every image, the loneliness and hardship of disaffected relationships imbued in every picture. The result is a contemplative series of photographs that don’t seek to give us answers but rather present us with questions about our own relationship with our family. How history and our perception of each other is both fluid and ossified in time. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
Fault Line is a project I am doing in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam, who lives there. I also photograph my brother, father, and other cousins. I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake (a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history) and also alludes to fault, or blame (I wonder, how does a family support each other, even when things aren’t perfect?) My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.