Akcinya Kootchin is a photographer studying Creative Industries at Ryerson University. Largely influenced by 17th-century Dutch painting as well as photographers such as Eric de Maré and Walker Evans, her past work has focused on capturing the narrative reality of places. This series is a departure from her norm, using found images and multiple mediums to display the woven nature of family histories.
Family Photo Album
When exploring the idea of dust as a physical representation of decay, I became interested in the idea of the inevitable decay of family stories. I reached out to my dad, who informed me of an old family photo album. Looking through the photos, I was struck by the sense of nostalgia they contained. They managed to exemplify what I consider to be cliché ‘propaganda photos’–espousing hard working and nuclear family values in Canada. And yet, my family’s Doukhobor(ness) exemplified a distinction from White Anglo-Saxon Canadians.
I combined scanned copies of my family photos with public images sourced from the Smithsonian photo database, including, landscape paintings from the mid-19th to early 20th century. I chose to select images focused around the Last Best West, untamed wilderness, American pastoral, and Christianity. By contrasting these elements with my family history, I intend to weave together a picture of my family’s immigrant experience within the context of ‘Canadian’ identity.