I photographed my Mom quite a bit over the years. I wanted the photographs, obviously, but I also wanted the process, the sitting. The interaction between us. Photographing her put us in a situation that required some kind of communication and at least for a short time she would put up with it, which surprised me because she invariably hated the resulting photographs. She didn’t like being represented in black and white as it made her look old. Keep in mind I began photographing my Mom with intent when she was in her 70’s. I managed to gain her cooperation often by simply lying to her, telling her I had a new camera or a new lens or something and could she find the time to sit for me. So we’d go through the process. In order to keep her mind off of the fact that I was photographing her I would ask her questions about her life, so in addition to photographs, we would have these rambling conversations about politics or her other idiot children and what an ace of a son I was.
Towards the end of her life my Mom suffered a series of strokes that left her with no short term memory. The strokes also altered her demeanor to the extent that she was always pleasant. Previously my Mother had been a famously obstinate woman, so this was quite a change. When I would sit with her we would have the same conversation over and over about some random thing that was happening right in front of us. Her state was such that everything that happened around her disappeared immediately. She did, somehow, remember that I was a photographer, always asking me if I brought my camera.
So, on this Mother’s Day: Mom, partly.