Copyright Glen Erler
Author: BJP for iPad
01 Feb 2011 Tags: Appissue01
London-based photographer Glen Erler reflects on family history back home in California.
Family Tree is a personal project for Glen Erler in more ways than one. Recording his family back home in California, it portrays where he grew up, and how his parents’ separation shaped his experience. “It came at the beginning of my adolescent years,” says the photographer, now based in London, from where he shoots his own work alongside fashion commissions. “Changing schools made it hard to fit in. I think at that point I became more of an observer.”
Many of the images play with light, whether that’s late afternoon shadows or the harsh midday sun, capturing outdoors life in The Golden State, but also something of the place of nature in society. Some images are laden with personal historical significance, such as a picture of his aunt [next page] holding a photograph of her daughter, who died from AIDS after falling into drug abuse.
Others show seemingly mundane, everyday scenes, but he gives them no less precedence. “This simplicity is how most of life is, until we’re hit with an event that then shapes us into a slightly more seasoned individual,” he says. “The images in Family Tree are about both, the simple and the significant.”
Erler intended the project to be a book from the start, and says that, although he’s still working on it, it’s nearly ready for publication. He wants to include some text with each image and, if it’s also exhibited, will add moving images and sound recordings. But in a sense the project will never be finished, he adds, because life is always evolving. “Things change, people change, trees grow or get cut down,” he says. “They have to be seen as what they are, or were at the time they were taken.”
We hope you enjoyed this article from the British Journal of Photography for iPad, Issue One. For more information on how to get this free app, which includes all the photos from this article plus hundreds more, click here.
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