In Chinese propaganda pictures from the 1950s and 60s, you’d have the farmer, worker and soldier posing in glorious three-quarter profile. We had lots of books with those pictures round the house. That’s where this picture comes from. Isabel is a soldier and this is propaganda. It’s a nod to the essential mythology of the family album.
This is what Larry Sultan said about it with regards to his great, great book Pictures from Home: ‘Photography is there to construct the idea of us as a great family and we go on vacations and take these pictures and then we look at them later and we say, 'Isn't this a great family?' So photography is instrumental in creating family not only as a memento, a souvenir, but also a kind of mythology.’ All Quiet on the Home Front is a mythology then, but a mythology that is not static, that changes over time, that means different things for different people.