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Photographer Relishes the Messiness of Childhood in Raw, Emotional Images of Her Family

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New York-based photographer Andi Schreiber first began photographing her family, she suggests, out of some innate feeling of urgency and desperation. She describes the period in which her eldest son was a toddler and her youngest an infant as one that was both sweet and solitary; homebound, she thirsted for familiar moments that slipped ever so slightly into the realm of the uncanny, instants wherein the ordinary became curious and strange.

Wonderlust— which includes photographs both from her home, family gatherings and events– is nestled between two more of Schreiber’s series: Lush Light, composed of her early photographs of her children, and Drift, which chronicles their emergence into adolescence. Wonderlust, then, captures the ambiguous, in-between fragment of childhood, when the comforts of babyhood are left behind and the uncertainties of teenage-hood have not yet descended. The series, explains the photographer, began five years ago— when her sons were seven and nine— on a blog that she still maintains.

When it comes to her family, Schreiber shoots anything that causes her to wonder, scenes that feel bared and unmasked. Her constant subjects—the two boys and their father—have made themselves vulnerable to her camera, although she admits that her husband has declined his consent to publicly release a small handful of photographs that he found a bit too private and confidential for the rest of the world. Each year, her sons anticipate their birthdays, when their mother will run an entire post dedicated to their existence. It’s a family tradition.

When asked to define what it is that inspires her to reach for the camera, Schreiber concedes that it’s not something she can articulate. It’s an irresistible, physical itch that overtakes her when she sees something that is both small and unforgettable. Most recently, it was when her eldest son, now fourteen, awoke with impressions from his sheet inscribed across his body. “He allowed me to make a few frames of his torso. It was a gift,” writes the artist.

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All images © Andi Schreiber

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