Thomas Struth
Swiss Re Corporate responsibility
The Hirose Family, Hiroshima, 1987
The Hirose Family, Hiroshima, 1987 · Silver Gelatine Print, 74 x 92 cm
The Felsenfeld/Gold Families, Philadelphia, 2007
The Felsenfeld/Gold Families, Philadelphia, 2007 · C-Print, 179,2 x 217 cm

Families Struth discovered parallels with his street scenes in the classic family portrait, moved here too by the desire to invoke the unfamiliar and the unconscious from behind a clichéd and generic surface. His family portraits are always taken under the same conditions: the initiative must come from the artist (with a very few exceptions, Struth’s portraits are not commissioned); the family in question, in consultation with Struth himself, determine the location for the shoot and its framing in their garden or home; finally, while it is up to the family to decide on how to arrange themselves and what poses to strike, they are always asked to look directly into the camera. ‘My interest in families was spurred for the most part by my attempts to analyse and comprehend myself, my own family, and the position of the family in western culture, as well as to determine why we are the way we are. You can’t choose your family, after all. Furthermore, families were a delicate subject in the Germany I grew up in: you were always wondering what your parents and grandparents had done under fascism.’