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THE FAMILY PORTRAITS PROJECT is an ongoing project geared towards engaging community members in discussing who lives in communities and what effect race, class, and gentrification has on their lives. Participating community members receive a free family portrait and will be encouraged to share what assets they feel are present in the community – the process of photographing and discussing who represents communities serves as a tool to create counter narratives of how communities are represented by the media. The stories also serve as documentation of Chicago communities and what affect race, class, and gentrification might have on them.

In early 2014 the Awesome Foundation awarded the project seed money to create a free Mobile Photography Studio that allows anyone living within Chicago land communities to participate in taking “Family” Portraits.

This project aims to accomplish the following:

1. Provide families that wouldn’t necessarily have access to family portraits an opportunity to have a family portrait for free.

2. Provide an opportunity for me as a community member, teacher, and artist to talk to community members about their stories and the importance of documenting personal histories/herstories within our neighborhoods.

3. Produce photographs and possibly record stories that will allow for the creation of an online community archive for various community stakeholders to access community stories that represent Chicago.