Artist's Statement

Megan Jacobs

My work references the early usages of photography when exposure times were long. Mothers who wanted a photograph of their child would commonly be hidden under a piece of fabric in order for them to hold their child, thus ensuring a sharp image. The practice to omit mothers in these late 19th century images, which are often referred to as hidden mother images, says something about the value of mothers during these times.

Within my series, Hidden Mothers, I have created formally similar images as a metaphor for the unrecognized physical and emotional work that mothers do to support and nurture their children in contemporary times. Each mother is wrapped in a floral bed linen that both elicits traditional notions of femininity and domestic spaces and recalls the memories that have been imprinted upon each mother. There is a tension between hiding and revealing: the mothers’ identities are obscured yet the vibrant sheets accentuate their presence in my series. However, the traditional hidden mother images eradicated nearly all indications of the mother's presence. My images, in other instances, expose specific aspects of the mothers’ identities. The interplay between hiding and revealing explores the complexities of motherhood and functions to illustrate the mutability of identity and in some cases an erasure of self.