‘Returning Home’ is a personal documentary by Andreas Tsonidis, in which he photographs his wife’s family of origin, and especially her parents who live in a provincial town in Northern Greece. Although a family therapist himself, he has often found it difficult to fully engage with the familial terrain. “The family for me has always felt like a battlefield, a site of struggle between individuality and interconnectedness, each a precondition and context for the other”. It comes as no surprise, then, that this project presented him with a great challenge and at the same time opened up an avenue to self-reflexivity.
“Very often, the moments that I wanted to capture were instances of individuality, set against the backdrop of intimate relationships and strong emotional bonds. The individual characters in this photographic series are all protagonists in a family drama staged in the unique atmosphere the family’s home evokes. For me, the photographer, husband and son-in-law, the camera served as a distance regulator and a reflexive tool; it allowed me to approach this family as a ‘participant observer’, providing me with a position from which to observe myself observing others, while simultaneously searching for a home. These pictures then intend to create a version of family life, but also speak of my desire to understand and connect with a world that is not my own, yet one that I feel in many ways deeply attached to.”