Artist Talk: Daniel W. Coburn 

The Hereditary Estate: Domestic Trauma and Vernacular Photography
at 516 ARTS

Daniel Coburn's work and research practice investigates the family photo album as part of a visual infrastructure that supports the ideology of the American Dream.

In 1856 The Eastman Kodak Company democratized the medium of photography by introducing the snapshot camera under the slogan "You push the button and we do the rest."  A few decades later, through a series of well-orchestrated advertising campaigns, Kodak was telling the American public what type of camera to buy and providing the archetype and a set of instructions for making the ideal family photo. 

Coburn's family history is haunted by instances of substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide and mental illness.  Frustrated by the lack of images that document this history, he set out to create a new archive, a potent supplement to the broken family album that exists in the collection of many families.

In January of 2015, Kehrer-Verlag published "The Hereditary Estate," Coburn's first major monograph which functions as an amendment to the ideal family album.  Using his own photographs made over the last decade, and altered, amateur photographs, the photographer weaves a family narrative that is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. 

After the talk, Coburn will be available to sign copies of "The Hereditary Estate," which is currently available for purchase at 516 ARTS.