“In 1965 the group surrounding the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu identified the [photogaphic] documentation of family rituals as the ritual confirmation of the institution of the family itself, emphasizing the social function of taking photographs.” 
The occasions for family-photography are evolving out of its function. Photography in the family circle has to record the “good times” and special moments of a family’s biography. These are mainly weddings, birthdays, holiday trips, the kids, christmas and other parties.
The ‘classical’ way of collecting these douments was to put the family-photographs into an album. This album was limited in its public range. The access to it was strictly regulated. One needed to be an insider, an accepted member of the family itself or the close circle surrounding the family to be allowed to gaze at the family’s ‘holy shrine’.
Today things are different:
- 3.306.789 photographs tagged with wedding
- 2.141.630 photographs tagged with family
- 1.569.381 photographs tagged with birthday
- 1.441.387 photographs tagged with christmas
- 1.039.372 photographs tagged with holiday
- 888.364 photographs tagged with baby
The ‘holy shrine’ is now public.
 Kathrin Peters: Instant Images: The Recording, Distribution and Consumption of Reality Predestined by Digital Photography [link]
WANG JINSONG was born
in Heilongjiang Province, China, in 1963. He graduated from what is now the Chinese Academy of Fine Art in 1987 with a degree in Chinese Painting. As a core member of the Cenozoic School, his works have been widely exhibited in China, Japan, Australia, Europe, and the United States. He currently teaches in the Fine Arts Department at Beijing Education University. [source]
Social phenomena have been a subject of concern in my work-I try to present people’s attitudes and experiences through the details of their surroundings. I began my career as a painter, often using the camera as a tool to study ideas for projects. In my first photographic series, “Standard Family,” I explored the results of the Chinese government’s one-child policy as it affected the younger generation, and in the process I observed the situations of old-age couples living by themselves. These people belong to the generation of my own parents and by photographing retired couples living in Beijing who are representative of different social classes, from workers to university professors, I began to better understand the past. Today’s Chinese families are quite different from those of the old days, when members of several generations lived together and shared the household duties. Among the people I photographed for the “Parents” series, the children had moved away and the couples seemed to enjoy their independence. In these pictures you see nothing of youth culture, such as posters of movie stars or pop singers, and rarely did I find portraits of political figures as you commonly see in earlier photographs (two couples I visited had hung portraits of Zhou En-lai). Today the old folks prefer to display scrolls of calligraphy, flowers they have grown, or their pet birds. By presenting them among their possessions, I hope to show not only differences of taste and social status but also the ways in which government policies have marked their lives. I try not to emphasize that point but those [in China] who see the work understand the meaning of these surface details. Wang Jinsong [source]