The changing face of family

Story highlights

  • Vincent Gouriou has taken portraits of many different families in France
  • His photos include same-sex couples, single parents and transgender people

(CNN)The traditional concept of family has evolved over the years.

Gone are the days when it was just a husband and wife and maybe some children. Now, whether it includes a single parent or maybe an LGBT couple, people are redefining what it means to be a family.
Family is "all about giving and receiving love and affection," photographer Vincent Gouriou said. It's about "feeling protected (and) connecting with other human beings."
    His portraits show a variety of families in France. One of his favorites is the one of Anne and Veronique and their twins -- the first photo in the gallery above. The same-sex couple had to travel to Belgium to get the in-vitro fertilization they couldn't get in France.
    "The story behind the photo makes it even powerful," Gouriou said. "Knowing the obstacles they faced, what they have gone through to have these children, adds another dimension to what could otherwise have been a typical family photo. The darker palette hints at these struggles, and helps to juxtapose the image against typical happy family photos."
    Photographer Vincent Gouriou
    Another one of Gouriou's portraits -- No. 6 in the gallery above -- shows 19-year-old Melanie and her father. She is transgender and lives in the small town of Quimper.
    "It was very courageous for her and her family to accept to be in the spotlight," Gouriou said. He said "it is very touching to see the support that she gets from her family, because it's not the case for everyone -- far from it."
    Portraits, Gouriou said, are a way to meet people, understand them and understand himself.
    "I'm inspired by intimacy, sexuality and identity through differences and singularities of human beings," he said. "I take interest in the human condition through the different steps in life and body transformations: childhood, adolescence, old age, sickness, sexual preferences."
    Gouriou says the premise of family has changed, especially with regards to homosexual parents.

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    "A couple of years ago, there were a lot of demonstrations against gay marriage in France," he said. "It was a violent time for gay people here. So this (project) was a way to express my feelings about that and to show families who might be qualified as 'different' but are just like other families."
    He also says religion has shaped his photography since he grew up in a Catholic household. He said many of his parents' friends were nuns and priests. "They were kind of part of our family," he said. "They also are a family of their own."
    Gouriou says pictures are a way to make human relationships universal. He says no matter your identity, sex, age or religion, love and gestures of affection are universal.
    "I always try to take pictures of very different people -- from nuns to transgender people -- to show what is universal through singularities. This is what brings all humans together," he said.