In 2007 Timm Rautert, then professor of photography at Leipzig’s Academy of Fine Arts, began photographing his students with their partners and young children among the designer furniture, second-hand treasures and kids’ toys of their apartments. So began a decade-long documentary experiment that shows German families in their revealing home environments and their beginnings as a family unit, with all its complex social connotations.
The book consists of 40 triptychs, one of each family. At the center is the mother/father/child group; to the left and right the living spaces seem to fold outwards, like a winged altarpiece. Rautert thus questions the idea of the “holy family” today though the prism of a specific generation’s middle class. His sitters gaze towards us (the children do their best), with varying degrees of formality. Rautert’s technical approach is appropriately pared back, creating a neutral stage on which his subjects pose and helping him to seize, in his words, “that selfsame moment to look at that which I perhaps did not immediately grasp.”