S/MOTHERING, a photographic investigation of solitude and smothering, explores themes of identity, love, feminism, social constructs and depression felt within the paradigm of motherhood. The images were created to enhance the emotional elements of these themes by careful and considered use of light, space, colour and composition. Self-portraiture was used to reflect the internal identity of motherhood as something experienced back at the objective identity as provided to others.
I used cinematic lighting techniques and dramatic tonal values, to focus on the unseen duality of motherhood as both isolating and claustrophobic and as much as part of the ‘natural state’ of motherhood as the bio-social and idealistic representations woven through our cultural landscape. S/Motherhood explores how these objective expectations of the ‘natural mother’ become a type of fait accompli for depression and other mental health disorders.
The ideal mother is a fallacy and the external perception of ‘motherhood’ fails to acknowledge the complexity of the lived experience of a mother where we can be both overwhelmed and dependent on the love of her children.