Queering Family Photography: A Short Film

In May 2016, The Family Camera Network launched a public archive project to collect and preserve family photographs and their stories, providing a resource for teachers, historians, and scholars to write new histories of photography, family, and Canada.

The project has conducted over 30 interviews in total, including 16 oral history interviews with 13 queer and/or trans narrators about their family photographs. The photographs and video interviews are being preserved at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives and at the Royal Ontario Museum. This video draws from interview footage in this archive. 

As an interviewer on this project, I had the opportunity to sit with participants and talk about their relationships to queerness, migration, and diaspora in a number of different contexts.  A portion of the interviews I and the other organizers completed are captured in this short, 20 minute video.

Queering Family Photography exhibition, for which myself and Thy Phu (Western University) produced this film, explored the critical work that queer, trans, and two-spirited family photos do in documenting and creating queer modes of belonging, and how our emotional attachments to queer family photographs have also sustained LGBTQ2+ lives. The show traced how queer, trans, and two-spirited people draw on photography to redefine family to include queer kinships outside the heteronormative, nuclear family model. It considered the social, political, and technol

Elspeth Brown