Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mothers at the Shore . . .

The image below is taken from IndigoAlison's Flickr series, Surf Widows at St. Ives. It's a brilliant collection of photos Alison took while on vacation this year -- she has painstakingly recorded mother after mother after mother staying in just this pose, watching her children play in the surf. I've been following Alison's blog for perhaps two years now, always appreciating the insight she gives me into contemporary art. She somehow juggles raising three girls with teaching art to high school students and still manages to comment on fashion, art, and family life in her entertaining blog. As well, she squeezes in time for her brilliant photography, and LBR and I often suggest that she should have a show -- we'll fly to London for it! Having met Alison in London this past spring, I know we'd have a great time, despite Alison's regular protestations re her grumpy character;-)

But with this project, I think she's hit the Mother lode, pun intended. Which mother among us can not recognize this pose? And which child among us might not be brought up short, suddenly cognizant of those many hours of maternal vigilance? The repetition of elements across this project is so moving -- I've never sat through an entire slideshow of someone else's work at Flickr before, but when this one ended, I needed to go back and begin again -- these are works I'll revisit and I would love to own, say, a triptych for my own walls.

What do you say, Alison? If not a London gallery, perhaps an Etsy shop? No pressure. Just, you know, something you could do in your spare time . . .


  1. I am a BIG fan of Indigo's work. This is so different than her other photos and yet seems a lovely inclusion of her role as mother. Fantastic series. I am hoping that Indigo will show these works to some galleries. They are that good, and I do think they are their most powerful when seen all together.

  2. Oddly, my stepmother the photographer took a photo of my daughter in this pose. Watching me, her mother, venture into the surf. It's an archetype, and as such its permutations can be as strong as the original. I think. I hope. I don't know.

  3. LBR: London gallery, opening night, Alison dressed in her creative flowy stuff, you and me flying in for the show . . . what do you think? Fun, no?
    LPC: That triangle (step(grand)mother-daughter-mother) does make an interesting commentary on the original/expected . . . I think the archetype is so strong at least partly because it happens in such a liminal space, not really water, not really land . . . so watching the identities play with permutations and possibilities, switch roles, etc., would get interesting as well.

  4. I think I am too much of a waterbaby to enjoy these photos! I can't look at them without wondering how you could possibly be watching anyone play or swim in the water without getting in yourself! ;)


  5. I am actually blushing!
    I have made a mental note regarding Etsy, but the time... Still I have coped with Flickr, so who knows.

    Bronwen, I dare not go in with them, or should I say the youngest, as it is so much easier to raise an alarm whilst dry!
    That week, 11 people were taken out on a rip tide just up the coast. Each year many have to be rescued and some die so stand and watch it is.

  6. Bronwen: See what Alison says, below. And I'll be checking back with you in a few years. It's an odd position to be in, where you are right now, still able to swim, pondering those of us standing on the shore and wondering how you'll stand it! Reminds me of how I used to say to Dad that anyone who watched our hyper-vigilant neighbour cleaning his roof every wekk would never want to own a house . . . there are other ways to own a home, or to parent a child, and maybe you'll find a way to keep Nola safe and do your own swimming. Time will tell. . .
    Alison: In case you hadn't twigged to this, Bronwen is the relatively new mom who will be watching my granddaughter Nola swim. Perhaps she'll be like LPC, above, and I'll photograph Nola watching her mom head into the water. . .


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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