Examining and reflecting upon the mother-child relationship, from the attempts to raise a child and to shape what their future holds, to the ways in which the child forges their own path, these domestic portraits of my daughter and me attest to the selfhood, uncertainty, and parallels that are threaded between us. The images independently and collectively signify the intimate daily circumstances, and the historical and cultural influences that shape us both as individuals and as a familial unit.
The series consists of portraits printed in the historical photographic process cyanotype, often referred to as a “blue-print”. Some images include hand embroidered text excerpts from poetry and literature used to wind a young child down for sleep and that prophetically speak of the possibilities for a life continuing to unfold. Other images include floral patterns that allude to the art historical context of motherhood and femininity. The use of found textiles appropriate the history of intimate objects and their resilience through time. The use of ornamental and functional hand embroidery links these works to the history of traditional women’s craft.
As a photographic artist, my work often starts with the camera but often ends with various elements of mixed media. I’ve always been interested in the tactile qualities of the art-making process and seek materials that further develop meaning in the works I create.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Morgan Ford Willingham is a photographic artist and educator. After receiving an MFA in photography from Texas Woman’s University, she moved to the Midwest to pursue a career in academia and art making. Morgan explores pop culture, advertising, societal norms, and historical representations to better understand its influence on women, and their identity and self-image, using various mediums, including photography, book arts, and installation. Her work has been widely exhibited, including Humble Arts Gallery in NYC, Filter Photo in Chicago, and the Hite Institute of Art in Louisville, KY. She is currently Associate Professor of Photography at Emporia State University in Kansas.
© Morgan Ford Willingham