Lightly child, lightly

Laurel had embarked on this photo project that involved trying to take portraits of people, at night, who were distantly related to her through DNA. She went online, to sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com and located people who were listed as cousins or distant relations of some kind, and then she approached these people and asked if they would allow her to take their picture. She ended up doing hundreds of these images… I loved her DNA project, which breaks down ideas of race and family until they are no longer operative in the normally simplistic ways that we talk about them in our cultural discussions. Laurel’s “family” as described by the DNA portraits transcended class, generation, race, political belief, region, and every other boundary you could erect in which to wall off your “family” from those other people out there at the edge of your property. She photographed gun-toting Republicans in the South, and Democratic African American union guys not too many states away. She shot Mennonites in Oregon. She shot Jews in Queens. The American family, in Laurel’s project, could be anywhere, at any time, and the responsibility to love them and treat them with respect, therefore, extended outward into the unexplored expanses beyond home, until home was in every direction.

~ Rick Moody, The Long Accomplishment: A Memoir of Hope and Struggle in Matrimony (August 6, 2019)


Notes:

  • Poem – Thank you Karl @ Mindfulbalance.
  • Photo: “Tyler, Texas #1, 2013” by Laurel Nakadate, Courtesy of Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York from Slate: “The Photographer Is Related to All of These Strangers
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
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