Family Comes First

Portraits of joint families in Bangalore, India. In India, the joint family is a sacred institution deeply rooted in Hindu heritage. In a traditional indian joint family three or more generations live under one roof, sharing one kitchen, sometimes even one bank account. A son after marriage does not usually separate himself from the parents but continues to stay with them messing together and holding property in common so that soon more than 20 people can stay in one house. Though extended families exist in most parts of rural India and some cities, joint families are harder and harder to find. Shifting family structures mirror the rapid rate of social change. Diverse new lifestyles and social codes pose a growing challenge to traditional values and established roles and rites. But what still remains is the idea of Family Comes First even in a fast-growing city like Bengalore. If you once started to search for the three generations under one roof, you will find a them everywhere. For the family portraits in the book people were asked to dress up traditional and the individuals are arranged only in the living rooms so that you get a good impression of the relationship between the family members. Like in old family portraits the protagonists had to be very straight through the very long exposure time of the taken photograph what makes everybody seem to be very stiff, serious and still. The chosen families depict the spectrum of society and public should be the audience. Altogether the series consists of more than 40 family portraits, which are extended by personal details of the family and informations about the social status. The work has been developed during the bangaloREsidency of the Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore and is funded by them.

With texts by Christoph Bertrams, Suresh Jayaram, Nupur Basu and Dr. Matthias Harder.