Exchanging Glances ("Blickwechsel") by Ina Schoenenburg

Ina Schoenenburg was born 1979 in Berlin. She graduated from Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in 2012, finishing Sybille Fendt’s class with her thesis work Exchanging Glances ("Blickwechsel"). Her work has been exhibited several times, including 2015 in the group exhibition „DER DRITTE BLICK“- photographic positions of a transitional generation- at the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin and 2016 at the festival Les Boutographies in Montpellier.

Family is difficult to explain. You were born into it, and it is the first thing you come to know. Within your family you find (ideally) the security and the scope for your development to become finally yourself. You cannot choose your family nor avoid it. It is deeply plugged inside of us, sometimes deeper than we would like it to be. In the company of family you feel reminded to where you are coming from, you recall untroubled days of being a child, but you might remember also conflicts and the absence of understanding.

All these memories and feelings are stored in our consciousness, some of them seem easy to grasp, some of them are buried in our sub-consciousness, nevertheless, somehow they appear always present when it comes to dealing with each other.

No matter how one’s attitude towards family may be, one thing is clear: Family remains a permanent task. Family is the straightedge that one applies for oneself. Everything one does is either with or without consent of one’s family be it the parents or the siblings.

How you see yourself also depends on how you perceive your family members. It is crucial how you look at them: lovingly, distantly, indulgently, disparagingly, ... it determines what you might see and what you don’t.

Over a period of 5 years I have photographed my parents, my daughter and me. These photographs show how we stand towards each other, how we are with each other. They are about my parents’ every day life, and also how we – my daughter and me - relate to it, how we appear in it.

I wanted to create a story that goes beyond personal sensitivities. A story that tells about becoming and being an adult, about closeness and distance in a family, about aspirations, buried anxieties, unspoken tensions, and of course about the unique and weird love that parents feel about their children and vice versa.

All photos by Ina Schoenenburg