August 4, 2011

What’s your mom like? My daughter answers that question today as our guest blogger. Taken together, her photo essay and artist’s statement create an honest, profound reflection — which is a nice way to say that I don’t come off too good….

We’ll start with a self-portrait of the photographer. Gabi snapped it over the winter, when she was still 15 and enrolled in a darkroom photography workshop. She was really excited about learning the lost art of using various lighting sources, developing her own film in the darkroom and then, printing her own pictures.  

During the course, each student had to come up with a final project. Her topic? Our relationship. That photo essay is the basis for the post below.  


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Photo Essay: “Mommy & Me”


For the first half of my photography class, I had just been shooting portraits with no real idea of where I was going. Eventually, I buckled down and told myself that I had to come up with something, so I began to brainstorm ideas of what could translate well into my photos.

At first, I decided that I was going to take pictures of people I knew really well, regarding something I don’t know about them, and pictures of people I don’t know well, regarding the little I do know about them.

It was a huge struggle for me to find things I didn’t know about people I’m close to, which is what lead me to the project I’m focusing on now.

One Saturday night I was stuck at home, and decided to experiment with taking pictures of my mom. I ended up using a couple rolls of film, trying different lighting sources, and creating double exposures. I had no idea how it would turn out, but once I started making prints, I realized that this is something I really appreciate and care about. After all, it is my own mother!

There were photos that expressed anger, frustration, exuberance… all emotions that at some point or another, we have felt towards each other. So I scrapped my first idea, and decided to focus on capturing all sides of my relationship with my mom, through photography.

Although my mom and I do get along, and can be happy when we’re together, we spend a lot of time furious with each other.

I think any average mother-daughter relationship, especially during high school, has its many different sides. My pictures, which are all shots of my mother, express different emotions that we have felt towards each other, at some point or another.


In this picture, she looks extremely horrified. Perhaps because of something I’ve done, a bad grade on a test, or a messy room?


In this picture, her eyes are closed. She looks worn out; as if she is tired of fighting with me and is completely and utterly DONE.


The triple exposure expresses insanity, that I have probably driven her to at certain times.

In this photo, the angle is from below. It is pointing up at her face and the typical “mom” look that no child wants to get; it’s the “you better not do that, you know better” look.


The emotion in the photo with her fingers on her head comes through the two muscles in her neck – they are protruding, showing that she is tense about something.

The different angles in the placement of the head can represent her struggle to make up her mind about something; most likely an important decision regarding what she wants me to do, or whether she wants to let me do something or not.


My mother, goofing off.

This is my mom, hiding from something she doesn’t want me to be doing. 

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If you’d like to see how different mother and daughter can be in our approach to a photo essay about each other, check out this post: How to become a model in Seventeen magazine like my daughter. Lots of glam photos of my baby.  :)


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