I began making photographs of my father, two brothers and sister ten years ago when I moved away from my family for the first time to attend graduate school. My mother has always struggled with her mental health, in 2006 she sunk into a deep depression causing our family to unravel. For almost three years my mother was a ghost of herself, often locked in her bedroom not to be bothered. Unable to care for herself or all three of my siblings, my father took guardianship of my brothers, who are not his biological children, while my sister stayed with my mother and stepfather. This entropic period changed everything from our financial stability to our physical and mental health and understanding of ourselves. I felt an urgency to be at home - making photographs is my way of understanding the complexities of our situation.
The photographs are glimpses into the lives of my family members and our homes, of the private moments shared between my father, sister, brothers, and myself in the wake of my my mother’s deteriorating mental health. They depict our history and provide insight into our future. The photographs reveal our tenacity as we come to terms with our shifting family dynamic and home life and as my siblings transition into adulthood, while my father struggles to hold everything together.
In a wider context, my photographs are a portrayal of the inner workings of the American family navigating its way through instability, financial adversity, and the growing pains of adolescence. While my story is specific, the themes resonate across diverse cultural and economic lines.
Lisa Lindvay was born in 1983 in Erie, PA and currently resides in Chicago, IL. She earned her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2009) and BFA in Applied Media Arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (2006). Lindvay’s photographs have been exhibited in Chicago at Aspect/Ratio Projects, Johalla Projects, Weinberg/Newton, Hyde Park Art Center; nationally at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington (DC); Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover (MA); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro (NC); and Internationally at Turner Contemporary, Margate (ENG); among others. She is the recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award (2011) and Chicago Artadia Award (2012). See more at lisalindvy.com.