In this latest entry in our occasional series, Profiling Portraits, I was inspired by an attempt to take a group photo during a recent family visit, as well as time spent looking through photo albums at previous years’ similar efforts. Family photos tend to evoke memories, elicit questions about older ancestors and of course provide a record of your relatives. I find it interesting to view family photos, even of families not my own, to see what they suggest about the family, about relationships between the members, about the individuals, about the time period or circumstances. Like any group portrait, but with the added factor of familial ties, family photos convey more than just the faces of those depicted!
Explore an array of photos of families large and small, some famous and some not at all, drawn from many time periods and different walks of life. In addition to exploring the details of the photos themselves, be sure to read the captions to find out more about the subject matter or the photographer, when that information is known.
(By the way, at least two of the photos below include the family dog – one is quite obvious, but can you spot the other? Answer given at the very end of the post.)
- Many photos in the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection (including two featured in the post above) feature families or address the challenges families faced during hard times in the 1930s and 1940s. Explore thousands of photos in which the word family appears in the title in the FSA/OWI Collection.
- Revisit the previous posts in the Profiling Portraits series: Occupational Portraits of the 19th Century and The Art of the Self-Portrait.
- Inspired to learn more about your family history? Visit the Local History & Genealogy Reference Services homepage at the Library of Congress for search tips, resources and more! Also, read blog entries from various parts of the Library of Congress about family history.
(Answer: If you didn’t spot the second family dog mentioned in the opening of this post, take a very close look at the last photo. It might take downloading the high resolution TIFF file from this page to see clearly, but the family puppy is curled up in the lap of the last child on the right!)