1 belonging to the Ha'Shomer Ha'tzayir youth movement2 and having raised children at that time. Each family was analysed as an entire universe, yielding a different argument. In the research, the case study of families offered several private albums; the albums selected for analysis were those containing photographs of babies, infants and toddlers.3 In each album, certain photographs were selected for the analysis. In this case, the album selected for analysis is that of Anna and Shmuel's4 son, N, born in 1966.
@@@@The analysis itself explores the way in which the family photographs and the overt family narrative that accompanied the photographs contested dominant mythologies common on kibbutz at the time. The core of the narratives belonged to the mother, Anna, who was the one who compiled the album and was emotionally involved in the interview. This is the first study of photographic albums on kibbutz, created in this context. Kibbutz society and communal child rearing has been researched extensively, but the focus on the visual material of individual members on kibbutz, and in particular the documentation of children in private photo albums of kibbutz members, has not been researched elsewhere. The article expands on the discussions of practices of documentation common on kibbutzim, on the notion of credibility of family photographs, the female and male gaze, the return of the gaze in an andocentric society, the question of whether family snaps existed on kibbutz and the collective vision in kibbutz society.
@@@@The analysis of photographs in albums in itself is complex and poses particular challenges, because photographs in albums are not created in a systematic structure. The research methods employed incorporated a semiotic approach to the analysis of the photographs, searching for signs in the photographs and their meanings to the interviewees. This research introduces visual analysis of elements, such as body posture, posing, proximity and assessing the quality of the photographs alongside the semiotic analysis. Photo elicitation was used during the interviews, in order to generate narratives.
@@@@Photo albums lack the clear intentionality of the photographer; they do not rely on text to convey a message and the reading lacks consistency; the same signs are read differently by the same kibbutz members over different periods of time, in which kibbutz society went through structural transformations in its lifestyle and ideology. Contemporary kibbutz society has found itself in a state of change; the ideological and institutional order has lost its grip, creating a platform for kibbutz members to release hidden meanings that previously did not correlate with kibbutz ideology and social trends. Interpretations and meanings given to old photographs shifted, new meanings were produced to photographs containing old signs. Anna's covert stories, exposed by means of the narrative and the semiotic analysis of the images, lent meaning and significance to the photographs in her album. This creates a methodological interface in certain parts of the article regarding the attribution of voice, between the voice of the interviewee and the voice of the writer.
The credibility of family albums
@@@@Family photographs constitute a special genre within the world of photography, characterised by a separate set of values than other genres of photography, which are contested as being manipulated or contrived, by the photographers themselves and the media. The decoding of information in family photographs was based on the conviction that photographs depict reality and are therefore trustworthy. When photography was a new technology, over 170 years ago, it was associated with the positivist worldview, formulated by August Comte in the mid-nineteenth century, such that photography was considered a form of science. Positivism gave priority to anything that was measurable and amenable to scientific proof. It held that only that which could be seen by the eye truly existed, concrete knowledge was reduced to that which could be seen, measured, quantified and controlled. Photography was considered an “ideal means of reproduction and penetrating nature without any distortions” (Kracauer 1980, 248)...
...The study involved investigation of visual material created on kibbutzim in Israel, interviewing families having lived on kibbutz between 1948 and 1967,