Emblems on shields were intended to help distinguish participants quickly and easily in combat, that is, until covered in blood and grime of the battle. They were not yet heraldry in the strictest sense, as they were associated with military units, not families. The Middle Ages brought complex symbolic and aesthetic language to heraldry as well as hereditary rights and much dispute about the permission to wear certain markings. Perhaps here lie the roots of its association with status and class, but most of all, family — with scholars of heraldry acting as gatekeepers of gentility and assuring legitimacy.

On the other side of the social spectrum, young men of no particular ancestry and often radical persuasion would unite under an appropriated or a self-made coat-of-arms, a DIY family affiliation of their own. Institutions, corporations and brands still adopt shields as their logos in an attempt to convey exclusivity — or perhaps appear trustworthy through imitation of reassuring bloodlines? Family matters.
a series of 7 photographs
analogue print mounted on fibreboard; 100x70cm each