Jessica Ingram Under One Roof
When I was a child, my mom gave me a 110 camera, and I took pictures of everything. The summer before I photographed this body of work, I made pictures of my own family. I was interested in the connections between family members, and my relationship to my family. When I returned to New York in the fall of 1998, I asked my friend Kareem if I could photograph his family.
I met Kareem in 1995 at Washington Houses Community Center in East Harlem. He and his brothers worked there. I taught photography, and Enola, Kareem's little sister, was in my group. Their family allowed me into their home and to have access to their private moments. They let me in as a member of the family, and we are still close. The process of developing this project was, and remains, so important to me.
Several generations lived in this house, and each person played many roles: Denise, as mother and grandmother; Melissa, mother, daughter, and sister; Kareem, Tarik, and Joe, sons and brothers and uncles. I like the play of the pictures together, how they interact and reveal the family's dynamics. Many of the family members have moved out, so I am glad I captured them at this time when they were together.