for the photographic series:
Mother and Daughters
I photograph my mother, sister, and myself at home in Keller, Texas. One of my favorite locations to shoot at is my mother’s bathroom, a place of opulence that portrays her glamorous lifestyle and elegance. My photographs explore this lofty bathroom as a shared space between my mother, little sister and I. At ages 44, 22, and 9, we have a broad and diverse range of uses for this bathroom; however, there’s something about it that draws all three of us in, strengthening the bond that already exists. Some of the pictures show how we respond to my mother’s example by looking at our reflections in the mirror.
My subjects are always aware of their picture being taken. In many instances I’ll direct them to perform a certain action while allowing them to interact however they wish. If I tell my sister to look at our mother, it is up to her whether she wants to laugh or pull a sour face.
In addition to the interaction between a mother and her daughters, I also focus on capturing individual personalities. It’s interesting to see how people act differently in the same environment when others aren’t present. In a few of the images, my younger sister is fascinated in watching my mother get ready; applying make-up, hair curlers, and changing into an evening dress. The photographs I get when my mother is no longer present reveal the influence left behind when it comes to the construction and perception of beauty. A large part of the series deals with the pressure young girls and women feel about their physical appearance and what it means to be perfect. The portraits of my nine-year-old sister dressed and made-up like a grown woman are meant to deconstruct this point.
My primary light source comes from large windows above the bathtub that illuminate the entire room. By positioning my sister near the windows, a soft light emphasizes her youthful, natural face. The dual purpose of this ambient light can be seen in the images of her covered with a mask of make-up. This type of artificial beauty is unfortunately shone upon with the same light intensity as that of naturalness.
While my work touches on the themes of beauty, vanity, and excess, there is also a great deal of innocence, naturalness, and simplicity. I believe that photographing my personal account provides an accurate exploration of mother- daughter-sister relationships, the powerful impact we have on each other, and how that shapes us as individuals.