We love our family, we hate them, we talk about them in therapy from the comfort of our empty bathtub with the door locked. A lot of different outcomes can come from putting a group of people together in a space for so long, as many of us are learning. But it’s usually in the everyday routines when we appreciate our families the most. Julie Blackmon’s photography career started after she had three kids — but coming from a family of nine children, she was used to creating her own space and finding her voice among chaos.

Her work seems both prescient in its depictions of inescapable family mayhem and relatable to our current moment. In photographs taken in and around her home in Springfield, Missouri, she creates fantastical, surreal landscapes and portraits of families who appear to be caught in a moment of unplanned, unmitigated chaos. Blackmon, who describes the last few months as "300 snow days” strung together, spoke with us about how the pandemic has influenced her work and why parents and children need space in their relationship.

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