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 books 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 post-feminist 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.
Karen Irvine, Nick Johnstone, Simon Watney, Stephanie Chapman