Monday 21 October 2013

Home Truths: Against the Idealization of Motherhood

Image by Elinor Carucci, Feeding Emanuella with a Bottle After I Stopped Breast-Feeding

Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Identity is one the current exhibitions at The Photographers' Gallery in London

For centuries the imagery created and propagated to illustrate the myths surrounding motherhood has painted a picture of mothers as the serene, selfless nurturers; semi-divine beings; capable of ever giving love and support. The mother came to be a social and cultural archetype veiling the real woman underneath.

In Home Truths, eight photographers (including a father documenting his wife and child) expose the physical changes, scars and struggles of motherhood, all to great effect and insight. This exhibition does not aim at painting a dark picture of such myth but rather it wishes to expose the reality of motherhood and of how women truly experience it.

The exhibition helps us to realise that motherhood does not have to be ideal nor idealized. However that does not take the both the profundity and the ennui found in this experience; the images enhance the power through all the emotions lived, experienced and expressed.

Hanna Putz, Untitled (2012)

In this powerful setting of a mother and child relationship we have two people bonded by survival. There is also the major changes to a woman experience of herself, of her own body and this new being brought into the world coming to terms with its own existence and all the new experiences it entails; the realization of his or her own wishes and dependency, the need for assertion and vulnerability.

Strength and vulnerability are, in fact, the two words that could better described motherhood. And both words can be used to describe the experiences lived by both mother and child, in equal measure.

Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Identity runs from the 11 of October 2013 until the 5th of June 2014 at The Photographers' Gallery in London,

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.