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.'”