2018 has been a painful bunch of months for me as a mother. I have too many words for it, so I feel like it's best to keep silent for now. Instead, I will share with you the series my daughter and I have been working on for the past 4 years, with some pieces that I have not shown before. The title, everything about it, has taken on a new meaning for us, but the words remain unchanged.
I grew up surrounded by photography, so it’s hard to say how much of my passion for it is nurture vs nature. My daughter is now growing up in the same way, and on an even more intense level thanks to modern technology and camera phones, but my expectations for her embracing it as a huge part of her life are very low. She doesn't need to be just like me; in fact, I wouldn’t want her to be. At age 10, she is a strong, intelligent individual, an interesting, wonderful combination of genes and environment.
Since she had shown some interest in photography, and since I had always been curious about the camera myself, I had Santa bring us a joint gift of a Holga 120N in 2014. We immediately decided to start making a series of photographs that are double exposures: I photograph her, then she photographs me, on the same frame of film. We started almost right away; the first image we made with the camera became the first image in the series.
This project, like motherhood, is all about letting go and accepting flaws. Using a camera like the Holga as a creative tool requires a lot of that anyway, since there’s very little control you can exert over it. This is something new for me in photography; I am not a control freak, but I do like to be able to properly set exposure and focus. My daughter, on the other hand, is not detail oriented in any way in her life in general, so the fewer controls the better. Letting go: letting go of my own child, as she grows and follows her own path, letting go of creative control since I have zero ways of predicting exactly how she will choose to frame her shots, letting go of the inconsistencies that the camera delivers, and accepting the flaws that come along with all of that. In some of the photographs, I am little more than a hint of a ghostly figure, but I like it that way. I may be difficult to see, but I am there, and in a way that’s how all of us mothers end up in our children’s lives.
The finished product of each installment of this project is presented flaws and all, to match with the imperfect perfection of life and parenthood itself.