In western society, the population seems to be more splintered all the time. It didn’t take too long to move from ‘self realization’ to ‘every man for himself’, and there seems to be a steady increase of alternative families, which include a great many ‘single parent’ families.
Good or bad, I don’t know. I don’t know such families intimately. But I very much appreciate the traditional family structure, in which the family unit often includes different generations, cousins, and distant relatives. Everyone has their place, and everyone has their special talents which are available and advantageous to the whole family structure.
I photographed the above scene more than a generation ago, at a family get together. These old men were well placed on a porch, overlooking the festivities, but a wee bit removed. They didn’t understand all of the interests of the young, but conducted a very interesting discussion among themselves, modestly, with the characteristic reservation of wisdom. From time to time, younger members of the family visited with them, paying their respects. Nowadays things are different. When we have a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah in the family, the music is so loud it is next to impossible to have a serious conversation round the table. I’m one of the old men now, so I don’t understand most of what interests the young. But that little niche that used to be provided for the old is no more. Sometimes, I’m just not brave enough to attend.