Family Pictures USA is a television series & transmedia project that explores neighborhoods & cities through the lens of the family photo album. Hosted by Thomas Allen Harris, this public television series enlarges our understanding of history, our diversity, and our shared values.
In the summer of 2019, they’ll broadcast three PBS specials of “Family Pictures USA,” with each one-hour show focusing on a different area of the country: Detroit, Southwest Florida and North Carolina.
The Senegalese poet, Leopold Senghor, who wrote for the Negritude Movement, said, “A photograph is the purest thread from one person’s eyes to another’s heart,” quotes Don Perry. “That, I think, is the power of these images,” he says. “They haunt us. Because they’re speaking to our heart.” Mr. Perry is the executive director of “Family Pictures USA,” a new PBS show that will be recorded in November at Rocky Mount Mills.
“This is ‘Antiques Road Show’ meets ‘StoryCorps’ with family photographs as the central element,” he says. Or, think of it as Studs Terkel’s oral histories of everyday people, but using photos more than words. The television show is a look at a particular area through the lens of the lived experiences of the residents there, the people who live there, using their family photographs and their family stories,” he says. “Our host, Thomas Allen Harris, is going to build a story-line by connecting the dots between the different family narratives we are gathering.”
The show will hold a public event at Rocky Mount Mills on November 10, time to be determined. Stay tuned for more information on how to sign up, as there are limited slots available. Those who sign up are asked to bring family photographs with them. They’ll be interviewed (and videotaped) for 15 minutes, and also have portraits taken with family members and with their photographs. Their photographs will be scanned and added to an archive; Participants will receive a copy of the scanned images on a CD.
“They want to capture that moment, the specialness of that moment, that person, the person they love, the person who loved them,” Mr. Perry says. “It comes through in a photograph. We’re looking at images of love. Old black-and-white family photos intrigue us, even when they are not images of our own family. “Our mission is to go around and ask people, ‘Tell us our story. Show us your images.’ And in the process, ‘Show us what love looks like.’ So we can all be enriched by that.”
Stay tuned for more details!
Thanks to RMM’s Julie Baggett for this capcom story & graphic.