There is Something about My FamilyFamily ties through the lens of 15 international photographers

Every year, we take billions of family photos: a succession of mostly happy moments. But what if photographers and artists turned a more enquiring and critical lens on (their) families? From 3 April to 5 June, FOTODOK presents There is Something about My Family, an exhibition that takes a penetrating look at family ties.


In There is Something about My Family, 15 makers explore the influence of immigration, war, ideologies and other (major) societal changes on family ties. Mundane and recognisable family rituals and modern family compositions are also presented. With work by Michael Anhalt (DE), Sara Blokland (NL), Vicky von der Fuhr (NL), Vincent Gouriou (FR), Pieter Hugo (SA), Eddo Hartmann (NL), Marjolein Busstra and Rebecca van Hartskamp (NL), Vardi Kahana (IS), Anaïs López (NL), Pauline Bakker (NL) and Anisleidy Martinez (MX), Petra Mrša (HR), Ad Nuis and Arthur van den Boogaard (NL), Uljana Orlova (NL), Judith Quax (NL), Jana Romanova (RU) and Phillip Toledano (UK).


Photographers on family
Many of the makers have themselves become part of the sometimes uncomfortable situations and family relationships that they portray. Like Phillip Toledano (UK) in When I was Six, which recounts the loss of his sister and the impact of her death on his family. Or Anaïs López (NL) who, together with a filmmaker and writer, follows two Rwandan brothers as they are reunited with their mother in In my dreams I want to become a tourist. Or Pieter Hugo (SA) in Kin, a collection of images that focuses on all the people the photographer regards as family, from his parents to the nanny who raised him.


Two works by Michael Anhalt (DE) show the consequences of his parents’ decision to flee the former East Germany. In Eddo Hartmann’s (NL) photos of his childhood home, which he fled at the age of 14 with his brother and mother, the interiors tell their story. In Shvilishvili (grandchild), Jana Romanova (RU) delves into the family history of her Georgian grandmother, who was killed by a nephew. The exhibition also features the work of young, emerging photographers. Uljana Orlova (NL) documents the asylum procedure she and her mother went through in the 1990s, while Vicky von der Fuhr (NL) talks to her mother about their family.


There is Something about My Family will be officially opened on Sunday 3 April at 2pm during the Cultural Sunday in Utrecht. In FOTODOK’s photo studio, visitors can pose for an unusual family portrait; two scientists who specialise in family research will give mini-lectures; and the winners of the FOTODOK Student Award 2016 will be announced. More than 400 students from Utrecht entered the competition with their own photo documentary about family. During the opening, entrance to the exhibition is free. Pancakes and poffertjes for the whole family will be available in the courtyard outside. For more opening activities, go to
Special activities
The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of special activities at FOTODOK. On Wednesday 13 April is a FOTODOK Book Club, a talk show in which photographers discuss their work. On Monday 18 April, photographer Phillip Toledano will talk about his photos. This will be followed on the Cultural Sunday on 1 May by a documentary programme and photo projects about refugees. On 2 June, There is Something about My Family will be part of Famillement, the largest event about family history in the Netherlands organised by the CBG (Centre for Family History) and Het Utrechts Archief. During the Cultural Sunday on 5 June, the exhibition will close in festive style with music and an auction of signed photo books.

The exhibition was developed in collaboration with co-curator Jenny Smets

Entrance and admission fee:
Wednesdays until Sundays from 12:00 – 17:00
Entrance fee is 4, – Euro, students 3, – Euro and entrance for children till 12 years is free