Artists' Statement: Case Study Families

When social scientists examine a family, they analyze patterns of cohesion, flexibility, and communication, often using dollhouse dolls in role-playing exercises designed to elicit information from inarticulate family members. A family that fits a recognized pattern of structure and behavior, or, better, appears unique, will end up as a pseudononymous case study to be pondered by other social scientists at a semiannual conference.

For the series, Case Study Families, we photograph dollhouse dolls as family units under scrutiny. We intend the images to function as visual equivalents of the verbiage found in sociological, psychological, and medical case studies.

We hope these photographs will suggest to the viewer such questions as what is typical or unique about the families pictured, how are the family members related, are there alliances within the family or detached individuals, how is power distributed, and finally (most importantly), what makes a family a family?