The Digital Journalist
Laurel Ptak Slight Apprehensions

With these photographs I was trying to portray my experience of growing up in a working-class community in New England, with the people who are my family. I wanted to record what I experienced, in part to preserve, but also to understand. I was considering questions about what it means to grow up, to become who you think you are, to learn to fit into the larger world-also how upbringing and social context shape what a person feels and thinks about the things around them. These photographs directly respond to several questions: What is a family supposed to be like? How is a family supposed to be represented through photographs? What does its representation reveal about what we think a family should be?

I'm always interested in looking for what I'd call "in-between moments," often transactions or symbols of slight apprehension or awkwardness that can reveal vulnerabilities. I wonder about the social processes that cause us to internalize rules for what is normal and what isn't, and how these rules are constantly and discreetly enforced.

These images are difficult for me to gauge because of my close relationship with the subjects-my immediate family-and because of my double role as observer and participant. To my parents these images are realistic, scary, touching, and funny. I love that they have a sense of humor about the work.