The Digital Journalist
Andreanna Lynn Seymore Cake and Hot Dogs

My interest in photography began in junior high school when I came across old family photographs and scrapbooks. It was like finding treasure. The books were stored in dirty boxes and had been forgotten for almost twenty-five years. My great-grandmother and grandmother, who were the family storytellers, had saved everything-photographs, cards, restaurant menus, remnants of first haircuts, my mother and her siblings' umbilical cords. I found it so interesting that these images and items told me a visual story of my mom's family.

The idea of family is important to me. I want to show the essence of family, and maybe not as we usually think of it, family as community. Some of these photographs show a Brooklyn family at backyard barbecues, visits with relatives, confirmation parties, and vacations. Others were made at Wild Women's Weekend, an annual, lakeside gathering of friends in Illinois that my aunt has attended for the last six years. It's a gathering for women only: no kids, no pets, no work, no husbands or boyfriends. And it, too, is like a family.

My images also often focus on the subtleties that make us Americans and that make American culture what it is. I try to give a sense of our culture without using the traditional patriotic icons. Instead, I look at simple things-gestures, painted fingernails, the small moments that go unnoticed.