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Meet The Jangs: An Asian Family Trying To Assimilate Into 1970s America

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Not everyone gets to see their family photos on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That’s a pity. We love Found Photos and those grainy, oddly framed snaps we call Shot!. Maybe one day everyone will get a chance to exhibit their family albums in the big spaces. That for later. For now we can enjoy Michael Jang’s pictures of his family. They are fabulous. Taken in the summer of 1973, when Jang was studying photography under Lisette Model and living at the Pacifica home of his Uncle Monroe and Aunt Lucy, his three cousins and their two dogs, the pictures record an Asian family at ease.

Jang says the photographs are “an often humorous look into the life of an Asian family trying to assimilate into the American mainstream of the ’70s… Look at what we’re doing then. We had all the accoutrements – the clothes, the house, the cars, the pets, the Caucasian friends, the Fourth of July party. At the time, I was just bringing in homework for class. I wasn’t thinking too much, I was just responding…. were really taken in the same spirit that any family takes snapshots. It just happens that I had black-and-white film, a wide-angle lens and I went to art school. There’s nothing else going on, but I do know the history of the medium.”

He adds a message we agree with utterly, and one that harks back to our earlier comment : “I want to take the preciousness out of these pictures. I don’t want the kids to think the art world is unattainable. I think a photograph can stand on its own without any help – no title, no explanation. You just look at it and say, ‘Nice.'”

 

Asian family

Aunts and Uncles.

Asian family

David in his bedroom.

Asian family

Monroe and Cynthia Watching T.V. (1973)

Asian family

Abby and Sam Corner a Cat, 1973

Asian family

At Home With the Jangs (1973)

Asian family

Chris Playing with Elongated Dr. Pepper Bottle (1973)

Asian family

Cousin Steve Taking his Turn (1973)

Asian family

Cynthia and Chris at their Father’s Store (1973)

Asian family

Cynthia in her Bedroom with Girlfriend (1973 )

Asian family

The Center Of the Party – My Mom (1973)

Asian family

Holiday Preparations (1973)

Asian family

Living Room Scene (1973)

Asian family

Lucy on the Phone (1973)

Asian family

Lucy Watering at Night (1973)

Asian family

Lucy Wearing Green (1973)

Asian family

Chris Playing with Elongated Dr. Pepper Bottle (1973)

Asian family

Aunt Lucy and Imogen Cunningham

Asian family

Jang, 1973

Asian family

Untitled (1973)

Asian family Asian family

Asian family

Study Hall (1973)

Asian family

Sheila Playing for the Parents (1973)

Asian family

Self Portrait, San Francisco Financial District (1973)

Asian Family

Sam in Laundry Room (1973)

Asian family

Night Golfing (1973)

Asian family

Mother & Daughter in Laundry Room (1973)

Nice.

 

You can contact Michael at www.michaeljang.com. But better yet, follow him on Instagram, where he posts many more cracking pictures.

  • Tim

    A very awesome slice of the past.