“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.” —MARGE KENNEDY, The Single Parent Family
Photographer Douglas Adesko has been compiling a photo series that captures that most basic of social units, the family. He depicts kin in the daily opportunity when siblings, parents, maybe other relatives and even close friends break bread and gather to eat together.
To adopt a slogan from the late Fr. Patrick Peyton, “The family that eats together, stays together,” could very well be a saying that is true. The series is simply called Family Meal. Communal meals are universal to all types of families, regardless of size, culture or economic situation. It is at the dining table where, among other things, we share the day’s experiences, laugh at shared jokes, quarrel over silly or serious issues, hear of good or bad news, chat over current events and of course, celebrate family milestones. In other words, it is here where we most define our individual versions of what is family. No family is perfect, we all quarrel, argue, at times even stop seeing each other, but always somehow, we rise above those things and in the end, are there for each other.
Adesko uses an 8×10 view camera to capture these intimate moments, and the resulting images subtly capture the distinctive dynamic that makes each family uniquely different, and yet also at the same time all fundamentally the same. So far Adesko has 75 images taken for the series over a 10 year period.
He shares his thoughts on the subject,
“There are only a handful of activities that are truly fundamental to our existence, and eating is one of them. Family Meal is a visual exploration of this primal act in the context of contemporary American family life.”
See the Family Meal photo gallery over on Adesko’s website.