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Coachella Valley Families project debuts this weekend

December 13th, 2013 | by Marilyn Chung | Comments

The Coachella Valley Families project came about through an idea from the Tolerance Education Center. They wanted a photographer to take family portraits for an exhibit to showcase the diversity among families. I was intrigued by the idea and was excited about the opportunity to explore the notion of what makes up today’s family.

For two months, we searched for families and eventually found 22 families who took part in the project. The families each had unique stories to tell, and were gracious in opening up their lives to us. They shared how their families worked as a unit to support one another and how each member of their family is important to them.

To document these extraordinary families, I wanted to highlight what made each one unique. After talking to the families, they shared an activity they felt brings them together and I photographed them in that setting. I had so much fun going out and meeting the different families for this project. Each family reminded me of the importance of having someone who cares and to care for someone.

I became a photojournalist because I loved the idea of documenting the lives of people around me, to share their stories through photographs and video. And this project was a perfect opportunity for me to do just that.

I have to thank the Tolerance Education Center for letting me run with their idea, and also showcasing my photography in this exhibit. Thanks to Sherman’s of Palm Desert for donating the appetizers which will be available during the opening event for the exhibit. Also without the generous donations of framing by Howard’s Backdoor Gallery and matting material from Larson-Juhl this exhibit would not have been made possible and they deserve a huge thanks.

I look forward to the opening event at the Tolerance Education Center, as this will be the first time I see any of my photographs printed for a exhibit, and I hope that everyone who sees the photos, video and reads the story by Barrett Newkirk can appreciate that all families, however they appear, should be celebrated.

The exhibit opening is 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Tolerance Education Center, 35-147 Landy Lane in Rancho Mirage.

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