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Kevin Francis Sweeney
Family/Self is a twenty-four hour cross-section of my immediate family. My family is a subject I know intimately but seldom consider with more than a snapshot. We are three individuals living together with common and individual goals that are sometimes at odds. This essay depicts a slice of an amorphous entity that does not represent the whole or even the surface adequately, but perhaps only the structure at a single point in time. These photographs are the result of a last day attempt to complete a photo essay for a David Alan Harvey workshop in my new home of Austin, Texas. The workshop was organized by the Austin Center for Photography to coincide with the South by Southwest Music Festival.
Although there were numerous photographic opportunities to look at the mix of both traditional Texas and “weird” Austin culture, I found it hard to escape the needs of my family. I documented one twenty-four hour period at home because frankly I had a deadline and no time to photograph anything else.
I am a documentary photographer and graphic designer, and my wife is a physician. We have a three-year-old daughter and two dogs. All of us are trying to negotiate between time for each other and time for ourselves. When we are working we think about home. When we are home, we think about work. We enjoy spending time together, but when the moments become mundane we tend to veer off on our own. When we have time for our own leisure or personal pursuits, we often feel guilty that we are away from each other. These images were taken from one afternoon to another during my daughter’s spring vacation. We spent the day at home and went out to dinner with friends. The following morning, there was no school or work but by afternoon we all had things we wanted to do. For me this was an exercise to find a new perspective of my family as well as myself. In the end it was time well spent with my wife and daughter.
Kevin Francis Sweeney is a documentary photographer and graphic designer. Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1973, he grew up in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Tulane University and the School of Visual Arts. He has shown his work in several group exhibitions at the Design Center of Austin, Texas, the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain, the Visual Arts Museum in New York, the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, and in the Galerie Deset at the Waldes Museum in Prague. Kevin is completing a long-term personal project titled Sixteen Sundays: Worshiping the Pittsburgh Steelers. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and daughter.