Taking her family as her starting point, Marie-pierre cravedi combines portraits and still life to create a quiet, pensive series that explores the place of the individual within the family group
French-born Cravedi began her project La Réunion two years ago, while studying for a master’s at the ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, Switzerland. Intrigued by the relationship between family and photography, she began to explore the theme in more depth.
“I show my family as they are – at least how I see them,” says Cravedi. “My main interest was to tackle the place of the individual within the family group. How can each person keep his or her own identity? How do relationships work in a group? And in an environment as complex as the family, how can the camera find its place? In addition to reflecting on the family group, memory – in a global sense, including oral transmission, memory of places, objects and souvenirs – is another component of this work.”
In order to tackle these themes, Cravedi concentrated on photographing in and around her family home, which she says has changed little since her childhood. “It is a landmark in a world where everything changes quickly. I have trouble accepting modifications to the house, as I’m afraid that memories might be damaged if we take out the tapestries, floors and decorations. In my family, we’ve kept everything for generations – from useful objects to useless but beautiful objects, and useless, ugly objects that could be fashionable again,” she explains.
While the project started with Cravedi exploring the relationship between the house and her family, she extended its scope to include other places that hold significant memories, such as her grandmother’s house and the place where she worked in the war. The process of choosing what to photograph happened naturally, says Cravedi, and the project has evolved to include her sister and other people outside her immediate circle. “I was also interested in people who are not part of the family but who were important in my childhood,” she says. “I want the viewer to imagine his or her own family story through the sequence of images.”