• Top

    Uwe Ommer: Guiyang district, China, 2 March 2000 (detail)

Photography

Photography: Uwe Ommer photographed 1000 families from all over the world!

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

It’s not every day that you come across a photography project with so enormous a reach and so engrossing a subject that you find yourself losing hours flicking through its images, but that’s exactly the case with Uwe Ommer’s 1000 Families. Uwe, a German photographer, spent four years travelling around the world, driving almost 160,000 miles in the process, and photographed countless families across Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania with a medium format camera.

He did stop there though, even writing down the story of each one, and painstakingly compiling them all in a magnificent publication to make, as he describes it, “the largest and most beautiful kaleidoscope there has ever been." The photographs and their stories are all available to view on the 1000 families website, and if you don’t look at anything else today you should take a look at this; the images capture the universality of family affection in a way that no other project does, with an honesty and a poignancy that I don’t think I’ve ever seen on film before.

You can also read Uwe’s own story on there, where he tells about the hilarious situations he found himself in, and the chain of events which led him to the end, including “see my hair turn white, get married in Las Vegas, use up thousands of films of every kind and format, endure and make countless toasts to everyone’s success and good health.” The project was finished almost 15 years ago, but like all the best ideas it looks absolutely timeless, and is unlikely ever to lose its relevance.

  • 1

    Uwe Ommer: Lepenic, Albania, 17 December 1996

  • 2

    Uwe Ommer: Tastrup, Denmark, 25 June 1998

  • Peru-1

    Uwe Ommer: Lake Titicaca, Peru, 29 January 1999

  • 4

    Uwe Ommer: Pitayó, Cauca, Colombia, 17 February 1999

  • New-fam

    Uwe Ommer: 1122 – Darwin, Australia, 19 December 1999

  • Peru-1

    Uwe Ommer: Guiyang district, China, 2 March 2000

Ms-300

Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast. She also oversees our London listings guide This At There.

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. List_

    For me, stumbling across Roger Minick’s archive of photographs of sightseers at tourist destinations is akin to opening an old box in the attic and finding a heap of jewels stashed in it. The Sightseers Series began in 1976, when while teaching photography workshops in Yosemite National Park, Roger was distracted by the hoards of visitors posing for photographs in front of the views.

  2. List

    Photographer Victoria Ling has the kind of portfolio anyone would be envious of, brimming with exquisitely polished photographic work; still life compositions created for high-profile clients and personal projects alike. Her work achieves the kind of ethereal polish that makes you wonder how much of it could possibly real, but the majority of her imagery is all captured in camera, as she explains below…

  3. List

    Voters in Scotland are today deciding whether to swap 300 years of union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the nationalist dream of an independent country. The referendum is being held exactly 700 years after the Battle of Bannockburn, where Robert The Bruce defeated the English army of Edward II and every year a re-enactment is held to bring this major historical landmark back to life.

  4. Listlachapelle_landscape_03

    The dazzling lights of David LaChapelle’s hyper-realistic photographs, glinting from neon and metallic and shimmering objects, send a hazy glow into the dark background; a magical aura that conjures up memories of fairground rides and bonfire nights and hot breath misting up the air in front of you. The photographer’s images are no less magical really; they draw you in, bedazzled and bewildered, like a ditzy moth drawn to a lamp, and then surprise you by being even more brilliant than you realised at first.

  5. List

    Imagine for a moment that the shoebox under your bed was filled not with photos of your Great Aunt June snoozing on the sofa last Christmas, but with photographs taken in space by astronauts on Apollo 14. For a lucky few at NASA this is (almost) true, and fortunately they’re more than happy to share their treasures with us proles in the form of a new exhibition at London’s BREESE Little Gallery.

  6. Main

    I think we can all agree that in the past few years food photography has pretty much reigned the internet as far as image-porn blogging is concerned. And yes, photographing tangerines on bright blue backgrounds does always look nice, we get it. But among the thousands of people documenting food in order to gain online notoriety there are some photographers who are known in the industry as the ones who can really, really shoot food.

  7. List

    The debate over so-called “ruin porn” has raged for several years now, exploring the cultural and ethical ramifications of turning the decrepit and dilapidated into art. But if anyone could breathe new life into this kind of project, it’s Nadav Kander. The photographer’s new show Dust opens in London today, and takes as its epigraph the T.S Eliot line: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

  8. Listalextennapel1

    The best portrait photography is truly mesmerising; a compliment which can surely be paid to Alex Ten Napel’s series of Alzheimer’s patients. In a somewhat ironic manner, the Dutch photographer has created enrapturing, memorable images of elderly and enigmatic faces. They’re both heartbreaking and joyful, delightful and despairing, as Alex has caught “that specific moment portrait photographers wait for: the moment in which posture and facial expression come together in a meaningful manner.”

  9. List

    There’s not an amateur photographer alive who hasn’t got a roll of film back from the developing booth of their local supermarket to find that almost every picture is clouded over by a giant fleshy finger. Usually it obstructs most if not all of the image and sends the photograph itself catapulting straight into the nearest bin in a fit of frustration.

  10. List

    A year on since we first covered George Osodi’s work on the site he continues to astound us. The Lagos-based photographer produces some of the most incredible photojournalism I’ve ever seen; this series Nigeria Monarchs: The Custodians of Peace and Cultural Heritage documents the figures across Nigeria who, in spite of having no constitutional rule since the monarchy was officially abolished in 1963, remain key personalities in the country’s political landscape. The travelling exhibition had a stint in London last year and is about to open in Budapest, Hungary, serving as further proof (if any was needed) of the curiosity which exists worldwide about these majestic and exotic figures. What’s more George hopes to photograph 100 of the monarchs, so the collection is not due to stop growing any time soon.

  11. List

    September is always a time for nostalgia; it’s that back-to-school, turning-of-the-seasons vibe that goes hand-in-hand with a certain sense of self-reflection. Few moments stick in our minds and come to define our personal stories more than our first kiss; that giddy mixture of nerves, anticipation and a feeling of the moment’s huge significance that rarely tallies with the physical reality! For its latest brief, MOPHOTO are working with Cornetto and asking young photographers to create an image of a first kiss that captures that dizzying array of emotions in a single visual.

  12. List

    I’m loth to comment on summer’s swift disappearance or the vague possibility that it might get warm again in the coming weeks, but how can I miss the opportunity which this series by Anaïs Boileau has so generously handed me? This brilliant photo-series examines the women who live for a tan, happily sunning themselves with foil trays pressed to their chins and eye-protectors plastered to their sockets. There’s something gently teasing and kind of funny but also really well-constructed about her images – the props make for a natural frame so you’re confronted with a very immediate manifestation of our society’s obsession with bronzed skin, which seems more ridiculous the longer you think about it.

  13. List

    Family life can be strange, unsettling and oppressive as well as happy, funny and ridiculous, and it’s this sometimes-sinister underside of the domestic sphere photographer Joanna Piotrowska seeks to elevate with her series FROWST. Her black and white images capture ambivalence and double meaning in the family home; brothers and sisters lie awkwardly across one another and pull at each other’s bodies in strangely stagnant compositions, while oddly familiar environments are imbued with a quiet strangeness that’s not entirely new.