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Portraits of Mom (2019- )
When I was young my mom worked as a nurse and aspired to be a computer programmer. Sometime around my 4th birthday she started taking classes at the local university and my little brother and I would spend the day at the campus day care. Not more than a year into her degree she was laid-off from nursing and my parents divorced. She dropped out of college to pursue other opportunities so she could raise my brother and me. By the time I was in my mid-20’s she had remarried and was co-owner of a successful industrial supply business with my step-dad. On my 26th birthday I decided it was finally time for me to go to college, I was the first of my siblings to do so. A few years later my mom decided it was time to go back to school as well – this time in accounting. Again, not more than a year into her studies her personal life crumbled when she and my stepdad closed up the business and parted ways. However, this time she adult children who encouraged her and supported her effort to finish school. In 2011, we graduated together and by fall she was offered a job in southern Florida and jumped at the opportunity. Coming from Wisconsin, this was a dream come true for her. Now that we don’t see each other very often, I attempt to make a portrait of her each time I visit. All my life she has been very self-conscious about her appearance and has avoided being photographed. Over the past several years I have tried my best to make photographs of her using my regular equipment, but the results lack a kind of spark. I decided I wanted to approach her with a much larger and slower camera than I usually use, forcing both of us to slow down and work together. In 2019 I flew down for couple of weeks around Thanksgiving and brought an antique Rolleicord IIc with 5 rolls of Tri-X 120 film. Working with a twin lens meant being able to photograph her without looking directly at her, this added a kind of layer of space between us and worked to make her more relaxed and comfortable. Having never used this camera before I was unaware it had light leaks, the appearance of came with some minor disappointment. Photographing her will be a life-long endeavor, and this is only the start. Eventually I think I’ll make a book about my relationship with my mother and her life, as I know it to be.