The Hereditary Estate is the first major monograph by photographer Daniel W. Coburn. The images are presented with two thoughtful essays contributed by Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, and Kirsten Pai Buick, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of New Mexico.
The Hereditary Estate functions as a ten year retrospective and as a conceptual work of art. Coburn’s work and research investigates the family photo album employed as the visual infrastructure for the flawed ideology of the American Dream. Frustrated by the lack of images that document the true and sometimes troubling nature of his own familial history, the photographer set out to create a new archive, a potent supplement to the broken family album that exists in the collection of many families. Using photographs made over the last decade, and altered amateur photographs, he weaves a family narrative that is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. The careful sequencing of these images creates a powerful psychological dialogue designed to inspire an emotional and visceral response from the viewer. The international distribution of this book completes an essential conceptual component of this work, placing this supplementary album into family collections in countries all over the world.