p h o t o
two way
family portraits
d e s i g n
frankfurt balkind
publishing: theArtDisk
a b o u t a r t i s t
curriculum vitae
self family portraits
brief description of the conceptual basis of the work
robert rainey explores the role of the ever-changing family unit in self-portraiture. as a single gay man without children, rainey embodies the role of ‘outsider’ when considered within the context of the “traditional american family.” when documenting ‘typical american families’, rainey brings to his subjects a unique subjective interpretation, in that he is, as the photographer, both literally ‘outside’ the pictorial frame and ‘outside’ the bounds of traditional social values. rainey is intrigued by the idea of the roles of father, husband and offspring. what is his role within this structure? he tries to find out by physically placing himself in a diverse variety of other people’s family portraits, hoping the viewer will challenge their own definition of the twenty-first century family where family structure is changing drastically. the portraits become a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of one plays in a family, the role of the men, the new role of same sex marriages in society and many more.

physical and technical project description
the images are part of the described series of self-portraits started in the summer of 2003. the portraits are shot digitally canon raw format and printed on canvas using a geclée printer. each canvas measures 22”x39” [also available for exhibition are artist proofs 16”x20” lamda prints] and printed in a limited edition of ten. the canvases are exhibited like family flags or banners; flush against the wall, held by nails in each grometed corner.
how rainey finds his subjects is interesting. rainey places an ad on the internet and in print. He seeks families and individuals who are looking for family portraits. each ad has a certain criteria such as “looking for families with pets.” He contacts them, interviews and meets with each family individually. he explains to each family that he, the artist, will shoot a family portrait for trade if one of the family member steps out and rainey enters the frame recontextualizing their family and meaning.