Della Chen: Photojournalism and a Family Portrait at Home

Della Chen is such a great story teller.  Her work is unobtrusively simple and beautiful, depicting families in all their day to day glory.  A true photojournalist! In her words:

"My photography is all about telling an honest story with creative and interesting images.  As a photojournalist, I create timeless photo essays of authentic and genuine moments.  My style relies on the natural chemistry and love between a couple, families and friends"

-Sandra Coan

About Della: based in Seattle, WA / website / contact / facebook

Scroll down to the end for Cat’s take.

Cat's take:

You can tell from each and every photo in this series that Della Chen is a real, true photojournalist: nothing is posed, and each photo oozes authenticity. I love the use of wide angles and select focusing to choose her subjects. In photos like the second-to-last shot, our eyes go right to the little girl because she's the only thing in focus, and her big, brown eyes are piercing right at us- wow!

I also love how this family's house is used as a backdrop for this photo session. Because of this, the pictures show not only the current age and dynamic interactions of the family, but also the state of their home: the way it's decorated, and laid out, the way it is lit, the kind of furniture they have. It's all so time-limited, and in 50 years, that house will be so much different, and these photos will be not just pictures of little girls with their family, but a portraits of how life was back in 2012.

Walter Benjamin wrote about the "aura" of a work of art: its exclusivity, its delicacy, its tendency to deteriorate over time. Given the ease with which we all make photographs today, we're tempted to agree with him when he says "that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art." But Della proves him half-wrong; she finds that aura in her subject matter, in the content of her art, and freezes it in time. These little girls--and someday their own children--will look at these pictures and be amazed at how different the house looked when compared to the houses of their future days. The comparison will be all the more compelling as we realize that houses are an integral part of the families who inhabit them. These portraits are more complete because they emphasize that integration.

If you check out her website, Della Chen makes it a habit to integrating her subjects' surroundings into her photographs.

- Cat Thrasher