No longer are we merely bombarded by mass-media images of attractive, smiling, jet-setting celebrity mothers telling us their happiest moments are spent raising their perfect children in their perfect spotless mansions, even as their nannies, housekeepers, dietitians, and chefs do all the real work. Now we are also attached to ever-present devices that continually broadcast similar messages from our own families and friends. How is it that everyone’s life is perfect but not our own? Why are we the only ones living boring lives in dirty houses with bratty children and cellulite? In direct opposition to the false idea of perfection imposed upon women through social and mass-media, I have created the photographic series Wife, Mother, Woman. For the series, I spend several hours at a time with women and their families documenting their interactions as they happen. None of the images in the series are planned or staged. I simply strive to be a forgotten presence, spending enough time with women and their families for them to act as they would if no one was looking. The work shows the reality of siblings fighting, dirty dishes in the sink, trash on the floor, and mothers pushing junk food and electronics at their children just to get a moment’s peace. Through the imaging of dozens of mothers, I emphasize the point that social and mass-media “realities” aren’t real and the personal is truly universal.
Amanda Schilling, “Amanda Schilling,” Artist Parent Index , accessed September 28, 2023, https://artistparentindex.com/items/show/348.
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