News Update: January 16th 2017
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Holding Time: Update
I now have nine Stills portraits completed and aim to finish another
three in the coming months, including one commissioned portrait for the RB&H Arts
at The Royal Brompton Hospital.
All three glass solids by Mike Barnett are finished and are now being
formed into the Time Maps accompanying each mother. In October I went to
Westminster Abbey to see the 12th Century Cosmatesque floor there and
make drawings. It’s great to have an example of Cosmatesque on our
doorstep! And in December I had meetings with publishers and galleries
about exhibiting opportunities for the work in 2017/18. More to follow
in the coming months…
In the meantime, it has been such a privilege and a pleasure to witness
these mothers, each at their own point on their journey of motherhood.
Sometimes a mother is photographed once, sometimes more times, depending
on the prevailing winds, technical issues, how we are both feeling and
whether or not I can remember how to take a picture on that particular
day. Sometimes I get home and realise I’ve missed something. Sometimes
it’s the opposite and I find I’ve caught something unexpected and
wonderful – something I didn’t even notice at the time.
Selecting one image has been a challenge in some cases and at this point
I reserve the right to change my mind. Many shoots produce multiple
images that would be perfect and this reminds me of my previous work
with flowers: so many good ones, but which one says it all? The
Interesting thing about studio photography is that often you don’t know
exactly what you are saying until you start shooting.
Then the process of looking helps to inform those answers: what is it
that drives you, week after week, to keep going back, again and again to
the same place to do the same thing? I have heard landscape
photographers talk of this phenomenon. Of ontologies: how collections
begin to inform themselves.
To attempt an answer: in the beginning I think I was looking for myself
in these mothers – how I felt in that moment. Indeed I am reliving so
many stages of my own motherhood through this process. But now, after
nine have emerged, I think I am also looking for the mothers themselves –
the picture that best represents them within the group, in this act of
As a series, each portrait is intended to be seen within the group. My
original idea was a circle of women, inviting the viewer in to look, to
be still, to experience a community of breastfeeding mothers.
Like the flowers in Floriculture, they are separated by seasons, they
are at different stages. But here they are brought together. They are no
longer single entities, but united in one circle with eachother and all
women, everywhere, always.