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Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood

Susan Bright Simon Watney Karen Irvine Nick Johnstone

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Hardback

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Art / Books
01 December 2013
Portraits in art; Photographs: collections
Published to coincide with an exhibition held at the Photographers' Gallery and Foundling Museum in London and touring to Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography, this beautiful and striking book examines contemporary interpretations of one of the most enduring subjects in the history of picture-making: the image of the mother. Focusing on the work of twelve international photographic artists, the publication challenges the stereotypical or sentimental views of motherhood handed down by traditional depictions, and explores how photography can be used to address changing conditions of power, gender, domesticity, the maternal body, and female identity. The work featured here is highly personal, often documentary in approach and with the individual subject at its centre, reflecting photography itself in the twenty-first century. The featured artists offer very different views of contemporary motherhood, from the devoted to the dysfunctional, representing the myriad ways that becoming - or even trying to become - a mother can radically alter a woman's sense of self and how others perceive her. The book's essays, illustrated with dozens of comparative images from antiquity to the present day, present the historical and contemporary context of the mother figure. Curator of the exhibitions and volume editor Susan Bright traces the history of photographs of motherhood from the nineteenth century to our 'postfeminist' age. Simon Watney weaves a fascinating narrative of the Madonna figure through the centuries. Nick Johnstone looks at the presentation of the mother from the perspective of the father, and considers how images of fatherhood compare, while Stephanie Chapman lays out the moving history of London's Foundling Museum through photographs and repositions the mother in a story of loss where she is strangely absent. Presenting contemporary thinking on motherhood through an exploration of its changing representation in photography, Home Truths provides a fresh and unique insight into one of the most universal and well documented of experiences.
By:   Susan Bright, Simon Watney, Karen Irvine, Nick Johnstone
Edited by:   Susan Bright
Imprint:   Art / Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 265mm,  Width: 218mm,  Spine: 21mm
Weight:   1.160kg
ISBN:   9781908970107
ISBN 10:   1908970103
Pages:   176
Publication Date:   01 December 2013
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood

Editor Bright sets out to explore an 'alternative history of the mother in photography', she writes, 'one that is not dominated by...the male gaze.' The imagery by a multitude of photographers - from nude mother-and-child candids to vernacular photos - turns conventional notions of motherhood on their head, or at least inside out.--Jack Crager American Photo As with all large projects, the inspiration for Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood came from myriad places, some of which can be hard to trace. But most obviously it was the plethora of 'celebrity mom' magazine covers that were appearing at a time of my own pregnancy and a move to the United States from London. The cultural differences toward parenting led me to look more closely at representations of motherhood and examine what was going on across both fine art and the media. This curiosity and exploration has led to an exhibition and book featuring artists and photographers who investigate the concept of the mother figure, responding or reacting to the legacy of the Madonna; the idealized mother; and established myths and stereotypes of motherhood so readily trotted out in the media.--Susan Bright Time Lightbox Bringing together these and other works under the umbrella of 'motherhood and identity' is in itself an important milestone, part of a post-feminist paradigmatic shift, and credit must be given to the show's curator, Susan Bright, and by natural extension, The Photographers' Gallery. Making explicit what it means to walk through the threshold and become a mother, Home Truths can be said to form part of a global process of change and, in the process, joins the confluence of the many small movements forming and developing, challenging and drawing attention to themselves and joining up to form a maternal voice.--Eti Wade Contemporary photography magazine online Housed in two galleries, this exhibition focuses on the themes of loss, identity and motherhood, featuring the works of various artists and photographers. The overall effect not only exposes home truths, it also suggests intriguing fantasy in the maternal links.--Sue Steward Standard.co.uk female photographers... brutally depict the emotional and physical strain of motherhood.--Sean O'Hagan The Guardian [T]his beautiful and striking book examines contemporary interpretations of one of the most enduring subjects in the history of picture-making: the image of the mother. Focusing on the work of twelve international photographic artists, the publication challenges the stereotypical or sentimental views of motherhood handed down by traditional depictions, and explores how photography can be used to address changing conditions of power, gender, domesticity, the maternal body, and female identity.--ArtbookPublishing.co.uk


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