Hug Your Family

When cities began issuing stay-at-home guidance in mid-March, UC Davis professors Katie Peterson (Creative Writing) and Young Suh (Art Studio) had a very personal response. “We decided to take a picture of ourselves hugging each other every day we live under the shelter-in-place order,” Katie says of their family of three. Young takes the photos, while Katie and their daughter are “willing participants in a photographic experiment.”

The original picture was spontaneous, capturing the feeling at around twilight of relief and desperation familiar to everyone, but especially to parents of young children,” she says. “The images that followed have changed like the weather, because they articulate our emotional weather.”

Katie also shared the following lines, of two people speaking, from Robert Frost’s “The Death of the Hired Man.” 

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

                                            I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.

The couple has since started sharing the images via an Instagram account called Hug Your Family; here is a selection of their daily documentation.



Katie Peterson, associate professor in the Department of English, is a poet whose work explores interior and exterior landscapes, exposure and shelter. She is the author of four collections of poetry, including A Piece of Good News (2019). She was a driving force in the renovation of the graduate program in creative writing and in relaunching it as a Master of Fine Arts degree program, while also directing the Creative Writing Reading Series. Katie is a 2019 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow.

Young Suh is an associate professor in the Department of Art and a photographer. His photographic work often deals with the complicated nature of human involvement in managing natural resources and the shifting concepts of nature in contemporary society. His latest project is Let Burn, a photo and video series on controlled fires. Suh’s work is included in several public and corporate collections, and he has had solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and in Korea.