A resident of Somerville,
Amber Davis received her MFA in Photography and Computer Arts
at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1998 and then
taught on the faculty of Princeton University. Currently, she
teaches photography and new media at Massachusetts College of
Art and Emerson College. A unique blending of art and activism,
Davis's work with gay-parented families has been featured in gay,
lesbian, and transgendered targeted publications, such as Arts
& Understanding, the Advocate, COLAGE and FamilyPride Coalition
Publications. Her project takes on increased meaning given the
recent ruling on gay marriage in Massachusetts.
For the past seven years, Davis has been photographing her family:
her gay father, his lifelong partner, mother and stepfather as
well as community friends. This online exhibit showcases some
of her most recent collaborative portraits. As most are located
in the suburbs surrounding Boston, it speaks to the changing demographics
of the gay family. Taken with medium format cameras, the end results
are large lush 30 x 40 inch ink jet color prints. The arrangements
as well as the final print size allude to renaissance genre scenes
and iconic images of family. The poses, chosen by Davis and the
families together, vacillate from highly orchestrated to the extremely
casual and mundane. The act of simply picturing these families
and moments makes this project so vital. Each setting serves to
put forth a much-needed glimpse of the gay family, but also speaks
to how we all picture ourselves within family.
see more of Davis's work, visit www.amberdavisphotographer.com
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about the Northeast Exposure.
photography I investigate the possibilities for constructing gender,
sexual and class identities beyond the traditions of the nuclear
family. For seven years I have photographed my family of gay father
and straight mother. My personal and social relationship with
my father and his boyfriend has informed how I make photographs
and experience community. It is my belief that images of nontraditional
families reveal something new about the cultural production of
kinship and the identities of individuals within family structures?
What is the contemporary mythos constructing selfhood within gay
and straight family, community and culture?
For the past three years the project has extended to include lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgendered families I actively collaborate
with LGBT families and adult children of gay parented families
in the intimate space of their homes and during public LGBT gatherings.
I am interested in how the gay community has and will shape the
photographic practices and readings of the nontraditional family
Through the performative practice of constructing and sharing
the formal family portrait how do we all perform identity as contingent
and in flux? Collaboratively constructing portraiture in the homes
of my family and others, makes visible the reworking of gender
roles that seems to be going on for many contemporary families.
Unexpectedly, so far in this body of work, it is class more than
gender, which has emerged as a defining family social structure.
I work with color and black & white films and I use medium
and large format cameras. Some of the photography is done with
a hand-held camera; some is done with a large view camera on a
tripod. I digitally scan my negatives and edit them in Photoshop.
The full size prints are about 30"x40". I print on silver-based
papers, clay treated surfaces combined with archival pigment inks
using an Epson 9600 ink jet printer on thick sheets of Rag paper.