Photos by Leon Ristov

Dara Swan

The idea for ‘Stopover’ came after I had spent a year working at one of Wesleyan’s dining halls. Apart from making friends with the student workers, I formed some really strong bonds with the adult staff. So, when my final assignment for Photo II required me to choose a topic and shoot on it consistently, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Visiting these people’s homes and photographing their families would be my way of getting to know them better. The resulting project is as much fiction as it is reality. Whenever we stop over to someone’s house, we get to know them on a very intimate level. At the same time, however, inviting people into one’s home makes the host subject to scrutiny. By juxtaposing candid photographs with staged ones, I wanted to talk as much about the families as my own perception of them. Coming from an international, low-income, and single-parent household, the images explore my fascination with Americanness, “the ideal family”, class, and truth…
— Leon Ristov

Leon Ristov (‘21) is a Film Studies major, and an international student from the Republic of North Macedonia.