"The initial project to work with family photographs came about through a collaboration with Ingo Hartmann, a psychoanalyst working in Düsseldorf who became an important friend and mentor of Struth’s. Hartmann occasionally asked new patients to bring some of their own family photographs as a means of exploring how they might represent certain dynamics within their family life.
Hartmann had seen some of Struth’s Düsseldorf street photographs and in 1982 he suggested they collaborate on a research project. Together they collected family photographs from forty people. Struth then made black-and-white prints, all in the same format and size, so that they could function better as a tool for comparative analysis. They then organised the images into groups based on different categories. “We were hoping to retrieve and present what was legible and understandable, to see what narratives about family life could be reconstructed from this evidence.” Around sixty images were presented as an exhibition called Familienleben at the Deutsche Akademie für Psychoanalyse in Düsseldorf in 1982 and a second time at the Institute’s branch in Freiburg in 1983. The collaboration with Hartmann was considered by both of them as research and Struth has never exhibited this project in an art context."