News Update: January 16th 2017

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Holding Time: Update

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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.

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 breastfeeding.

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.

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© Lisa Creagh 2017