Fiona Tan - Vox Populi

Fiona Tan's Vox Populi series is an eclectic and eccentric collection of 'family snaps', chosen to represent the cities (and countries) of Norway, Sydney, Tokyo, Switzerland and London, from Tan's edited choice of publicly-contributed albums. I visited Tan's Vox Populi-London exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery and found it stimulating and engaging, both in content and display. From the latter perspective, all the images were presented at the same size (6" x 9") and format (simple, dark-brown frame) and were 'clustered' together in a single mass against one wall (very much like family images are often displayed together at home). The content follows a rough pattern from left to right (but with overlapping themes) of portraits, home and nature, with significant moments from personal lives, as well as what has become to be the stereotypical norm (see Gillian Rose's work on Doing Family Photography) of banal and insignificant (as far as the viewer can be concerned) aspects of the snapshot. As a collection, the images are fascinating; however, for me the choice of images seems to reinforce the stereotype and I wonder, given the volume of images that Tan had available to her, whether a completely different edit could have been achieved that steered away from the host of baby, wedding, holiday snaps. That said, maybe the stereotype was reinforced because ultimately they truly are the very essence of a family snap. It would be interesting to take an anthropological view of these images and see what was done with them, above and beyond placing them in an album (which is of significance within itself).