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Picturing the family
Picturing the family

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Activity 10

Scrutinize the arrangement of the sitters in the family group in Image 24. In such groupings it's important to consider the overall effect, the position and pose of each individual, the direction of heads and eyes and to note who is touching whom.

Figure 24 A photograph of an unknown family group
Image 24 Photographer/Painter: Anon. Subject: Unknown family group, 1888.

Activity 10a

Note down some words to describe the arrangement of the individuals.


This is a balanced composition with a woman and child strategically placed on each side and the man forming the apex of the triangle. The family is grouped closely together. In this way the photographer suggests underlying notions of closeness, harmony and unity – ideals which the family strives to achieve.

Activity 10b

Do you think the arrangement subtly influences your attitude to this family?


The man's position at the apex obviously embodies his pivotal role as head of household.