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Rethinking the family portrait

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

Our Take: The messiness of daily family life from diapers to bath time is often juxtaposed against our shiny family photos. Husband and wife, and artistic duo, Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen have begun to shake up the traditional family portrait. In this article by The New York Times' Lens blog, the couple describe how their artistic and family worlds merged as they created staged documentary photos of the ups and downs of everyday family life.

For most children, household rules are fairly simple. Love your family, take care of your things.

Thats usually the case for Emmett Hillerbrand, too. But not always.

Consider, for instance, a short video from the series Family Portrait in which Emmett, 5 years old at the time, stands in the family kitchen, hurling dozens of white Ikea plates to the ground.

He said, I cant smash this, said Stephan Hillerbrand, his father. Ive been told for five years not to break plates and then you want me, in the middle of the kitchen, to break 100 of them?

As the video progresses, the reaction on Emmetts face exposes his changing level of comfort. By the end, his timidity is gone and hes smashing plates like its his job. In a way, it is.

Read more about Hillerbrand+Magsamen on The New York Times.

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