Through daily portraits, this five-year project charts the physical and emotional changes of two women at the opposite ends of the “young woman” spectrum. One was moving with excitement into adolescence; the other, with trepidation, into middle age. Each day, Elaine and Julia stopped their separate activities and met in their living room to pose for a portrait. They made 1,800 images—not truly comprehending the catalogue of energy and exhaustion, privacy and revelation, unexpected coincidences of mood and emotions that they created. The images form a series of moments that are usually forgotten. Through the lens of the camera, these moments have come to define the years of their shared experience. Mother Daughter: Posing as Ourselves appeals to a wide audience: photographers, those interested in the psychology of relationships, and of course, parents navigating the awkwardness and energy of adolescence.
Elaine O’Neil’s award winning photography about the mother daughter relationship has earned her several prestigious fellowships. A noted educator, she currently teaches fine art photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Julia Hess works as an engineer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and balances work with her involvement in artistic and cultural activities the city has to offer.
This project represents the continuation of a print and publishing research partnership between RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, faculty and students from RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and the print reproduction experts in RIT’s Printing Applications Laboratory (PAL). The research team was presented with a challenging goal: to produce a printed facsimile edition of a group of black-and-white photographs characterized by fine highlights, sensuous midtones, and rich shadow areas. The HP Indigo 5500 Press was chosen for this project because of its superb image reproduction capabilities and the unique ability to equip it with custom-mixed inks. Using gray and black inks resulted in very smooth continuous tones with density levels as high as the matte paper permitted. The end result has, perhaps, even surpassed what might have been obtained from an offset lithographic process.
Visit the author's website at www.motherdaughterbook.com
Table of contents
The Model Daughter With Mother
Deborah Willis, Ph.D.
Mother Daughter: Posing As Ourselves
September 5, 1993 to September 30, 1994
October 1, 1994 to September 30, 1995
October 1, 1995 to September 30, 1996
October 1, 1996 to September 30, 1997
October 1, 1997 to September 30, 1998
Mother and Daughter: A Conversation
Perri Klass and Sheila Solomon Klass
“Who has not examined her own face in the mirror, searching for signs of aging? Who has not scrutinized her mother or her daughter, searching for bits of herself like a treasure hunt? Elaine O’Neil and Julia Hess’s fascinating project will connect with these impulses in every woman. Judging from reactions to my book You’re Wearing THAT? I have no doubt that women will leap at the chance to see themselves reflected in these startling and artful images.”
—Deborah Tannen, University Professor and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University; author of You’re Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation