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© Marysa Dowling, Portrait 028, Ireland, from the series The Dowling Study, Parts 1-7, 2005-07

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© Marysa Dowling, Portrait 03, Stockport, UK, from the series The Dowling Study, Parts 1-7, 2005-07

“This collaborative family study spans four generations (involving all 32 blood related members of the family) and three countries, the UK, Ireland and the USA. It aims to memorialise the family through sets of images, as well as to explore the role photography has at every level to define, group, classify and individualise us. The series looks at our sense of self, migration, family history and memory, with particular regard to the relationship between photographer / subject / audience.

The images vary from personal portraits to pseudo-forensic and pseudo-anthropological documents. Each person is photographed in the same way, regardless of age or place. The Dowling Study investigates not only the nature of a family group but also my own sense of self, place, belonging and heritage.

Within such a group the use of photography helps to create emotional links, form a group identity (both fictional and real), highlight loss within the family unit, record genealogy, suspend familial events, and expose cultural, emotional and social parallels and contradictions.

Finally, the project highlights the ways in which individuals represent themselves within the family group, both privately and publicly, and perceive the self and others.”

To see more of Marysa’s work click here

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