Says Daniel: For the past decade I have made photographs to examine the family photo album as part of a visual infrastructure that supports the ideology of the American Dream. As I became an adult my parents began to reveal details of a dark family history—the evidence of which, had been removed or hidden away in the shadowy corners of our family sanctuary. Frustrated by the lack of photographs in my own family archive to document this troubling family narrative, I set out to create a potent amendment to the idealized family album assembled by my family members. I photograph friends and loved ones in parables of love, reverie, respect, and quiet tragedy. I collect and alter found photographs to elaborate on the family story. I make these images in an attempt to honor our relationships and remain true to our history.
Daniel W. Coburn was born in San Bernardino, California in 1976. His work and research investigates the family photo album as one component of a visual infrastructure that supports the flawed ideology of the American Dream. Coburn’s family members confront his camera to construct a potent amendment to the idealized family album. He photographs his loved ones in parables of love, reverie, respect, and quiet tragedy to openly address a dark family narrative. His photographs are designed to illuminate important issues that are often suppressed in traditional family albums.
Coburn’s prints are held in collections at major institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, and the University of New Mexico Art Museum. His photographs have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Mulvane Art Museum, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Filter Photo Space and La Fototeca Gallery. His work has appeared in numerous international group exhibitions including Álbum de Família at Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His first monograph, The Hereditary Estate, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2015.
Daniel is a recipient of a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He was named as a finalist for the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture the same year. Coburn received his MFA with distinction from the University of New Mexico in 2013. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Photo Media at the University of Kansas.