My mother is seventy years old. We are interconnected physically, genetically and emotionally. The span of thirty-nine years between us enables me to recognise myself at a point in a distant future. Images of her become, by proxy, self-portraits – a continuation of myself – and conflate distinctions between mother and daughter, artist and subject.
My mother’s body was my first connection to this world – it nurtured and raised me. Because my body is so much younger than hers, physically it is difficult for me to identify with it. What was once so familiar, has become, over time, more concealed and estranged. As she has aged, my mother has developed a dichotomous relationship with her body – she has become less content with it but at the same time never ashamed of it. She is an entirely willing participant in the disclosure of her body for this work and views our collaboration as an empowering one. This unveiling process helps me establish a new relationship with her.
The cable release acts as an umbilical attachment between mother, daughter and camera. Its deliberate presence signifies a doubling of self and self-reflexivity. Issues of control, the gaze and accedence to the gaze are intensified.
Beyond a certain age, the naked female body disappears, becoming a subject off-limits to visual representation. Using my mother confronts this disappearance by challenging received ideas of female beauty – inviting an erotic gaze at a subject whose erotic potential in society is always excluded, or hidden, always a taboo.