The Family Pose. Consumption and self-representation in the twentieth century This article examines the relationship between Italian families and consumption in the post-war boom through the study of visual sources, particularly photography. It focuses on the social meanings and uses of photography, and on family albums as a meeting point between the history of public and private. From the
1950s Italian families used photography as a record of their increased wealth, and represented themselves as consumer families. Symbols of the economic boom are depicted: Vespas, cars, holiday destinations. Families wanted to show themselves as having overcome the age of war and misery: these images had the role of representing Italians not as they were but as they would have liked to be. Popular
magazines reflected a similar use of photography, enabling Italians to forget about the hardships of wartime, and offering images of smiling actresses and frivolous lives centred around consumer goods.