Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood & Identity at The Photographers Gallery

It’s been a wee while so excuse the delay in posting. There are a few reasons for this, one of which will become clearer tomorrow when I post a photo pertaining to one of the causes of the delay. For now, I asked photographer and MA photography student, Clare Bennett, to select a must-see photo show to review for this blog and to give her experience writing a review. Thanks to Clare for doing this and I hope that The Roaming Eye will give her a platform from which to develop and hone her writing skills.

Clare Bennett’s Review
Curator Susan Bright has unveiled Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood & Identity at The Photographers’ Gallery, with a companion exhibition, Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood and Loss, at the Foundling Museum.

Hanna Putz Untitled, (LL1), 2012 42 cm x 60 cm © Hanna Putz Courtesy of the artist

Hanna Putz Untitled, (LL1), 2012 42 cm x 60 cm © Hanna Putz Courtesy of the artist

The latter exhibition includes Ann Fessler, Tierney Gearon, Miyako Ishiuchi and Annu Palakunnathu Matthew showing work that fits perfectly with the Foundling Museum’s core theme surrounding the parting of mother and child, as well as the way that the history of art and injustice work in parallel to convey the immense feelings of loss experienced throughout the years up until the present day.

Home Truths: Photography, Motherhood & Identity aims to challenge our perceptions of motherhood and what it means to be a mother in today’s society, especially considering the immense pressure, across all genres of media, to be the ‘perfect mum’ and conform to unrealistic ideals depicted in celebrity magazines. The exhibiting artists are Janine Antoni, Elina Brotherus, Elinor Carucci, Ana Casas Broda, Fred Hüning, Leigh Ledare, Katie Murray and Hanna Putz (recent Series award winner Renaissance Photography Prize). For those of you who want to read more, follow this link to a post (one of three) Families, Freud and Fartsters that I wrote in 2009 on Leigh Ledare’s Rencontres d’Arles exhibition.

Elinor Carucci Feeding Emanuelle From a Plastic Bottle after I Stopped Breast-feeding Her, 2005 Digital C-Type print 30 x 44 inches © Elinor Carucci/INSTITUTE Courtesy of the artist

Elinor Carucci Feeding Emanuelle From a Plastic Bottle after I Stopped Breast-feeding Her, 2005 Digital C-Type print 30 x 44 inches © Elinor Carucci/INSTITUTE Courtesy of the artist

Ana Casas Broda Kinderwunsch from the series Playroom, 2010 © Ana Casas Broda Courtesy of the artist

Ana Casas Broda Kinderwunsch from the series Playroom, 2010 © Ana Casas Broda Courtesy of the artist

Elina Brotherus Annunication 4, 2010 © Elina Brotherus Courtesy of the artist and GB Agency, Paris

Elina Brotherus Annunication 4, 2010 © Elina Brotherus Courtesy of the artist and GB Agency, Paris

Fred Hüning Untitled (2 photographers), 2008 C-print, 18 cm x 27 cm © Fred Hüning Courtesy of the artist

Fred Hüning Untitled (2 photographers), 2008 C-print, 18 cm x 27 cm © Fred Hüning Courtesy of the artist

Leigh Ledare Mother with Hand on Bed, 2006 © Leigh Ledare Courtesy of the artist

Leigh Ledare Mother with Hand on Bed, 2006 © Leigh Ledare Courtesy of the artist

The eight contemporary photographers selected highlight honest, autobiographical experiences surrounding identity and the role of “mother”. Some images are quite raw, initially, even making for uncomfortable viewing.

However, this is not due to the images’ content, rather that once the work has been assimilated, visitors to the show are left to assess how these social and cultural representations are formed and why.

It raises questions such as: when did the image of a new mother’s naked body showing scars from a C-section (Caesarean section) operation become so shocking and cause such discomfort?

Susan Bright has brought together a variety of photographic works that together beautifully articulate and question the harsh constraints that society has created around motherhood. Highly recommended. Both shows run until 5 January.

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