A Cross Cultural Study of Family Photographs in India, China, Japan and the United States

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This study determined that there are significant differences in subject content, visual style, and expression of cultural values in the photo collections, and that these are most strongly linked to differences in the parent culture, class, and gender. The effect of immigration is a dominant factor.

“. . . until this book by Geoffrey Poister no one has done a systematic cross-cultural study of family photography. Poister not only looks at the private pictures of kin in their everyday worlds but also analyzes how family photography constructs family life. The author does not rely on methods that might distance him or us from his subjects, he gets close and personal using long interviews and participant observation on location, in homes. Poister reveals how photograph albums capture an idealized romantic version of the nuclear family. . . . By integrating the study of visual culture and family life, Poister’s innovative scholarship makes a contribution to many fields including sociology, anthropology, communications, and human development. This is both an insightful and richly descriptive book, one that will keep you reflecting about your own life and how you picture it.” – Robert Bogdan

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
1. Background: Literature Review; Methods, Comparing Family Photography in Differenct Cultures; Family Profiles
2. Cross-cultural Comparisons: Photographing the Family, Overview of Photo Album Content: Weddings; Religious Ceremonies; Birthdays; Vacations, Relatives; Babies; Children; Married Life; Adapting to Life in America; Expectations vs. Findings; Notable Inclusions and Omissions; How Photographs are Used
3. Making Meaning: How Albums Communicate – Text Analysis; Meaning of Family Photography; Inside vs. Outside Meaning; Summary and Conclusions
Bibliography; Photographs.

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