Home Truth: Photograph, Motherhood and Identity- the Photographers’ Gallery Review

Whilst at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, I also visited the Home Truth: Photographs, Motherhood and Identity Exhibition. This exhibition showed work from the photographers; Janine Antoni, Elina Brotherus, Elinor Carucci, Ana Casas Broda, Fred Hüning, Leigh Ledare, Katie Murray and Hanna Putz. The work all was based on the theme of motherhood and identity, each photographer producing their own interpretation on this idea and the idea of truth.

Compared to the previous exhibition I had seen at the Photographers’ Gallery, Jacques Henri Lartigue: Bibi, I found this exhibition to have a much better layout. To start with the lighting was excellent, with white walls and bright lighting, it was easy to see each picture in great detail. I felt each picture had its own space and each of the photographers’ work was clearly sectioned, making it easy for the viewer to view each interpretation separately without any confusion or overlapping.

To add interest to the exhibition, each of the photographers’ work was displayed in a unique way. This made the exhibition exciting to view, as you didn’t have to just keep staring at a wall. Some photographs took up a whole wall, whereas others were placed at eye level in the conventional method of displaying photography. I personally felt that one of the most effective displays was of Ana Casas Broda; she used a whole wall from top to bottom to display her body of work. This work was very bold in colours and vibrance and the large scale added to the impact felt on first look at the work.  All of Ana Casas Broda’s photographs are quite dark and contrasting, except one of the young boy covered in milk, this one stands out from the rest and the viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to it; I personally would have taken this out from the set or had more lighter photographs in the set as this one stands out too much and could be seen as distracting from the rest.

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Ana Casas Broda’s Display

A display that I felt didn’t work as well was that of Fred Hüning; his photographs were both displayed on a shelf, where the viewer had to look down to observe them, and also on the wall directly above the shelf. By having these two displays together, I found it really hard to decide where to look first; it was unclear whether the shelf was the main focus or whether the photos on the wall were. Furthermore there didn’t seem to be much selection as to which went on the wall and which on the shelf, in my opinion, they all looked a little random. However I do commend Fred Hüning for trying a different displaying technique.

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Fred Hüning’s Display

The theme of the whole exhibition was the idea of motherhood, and showing it in a truthful way, instead of how the media portray it with pictures of celebrity mums. I personally felt that all of the photographs displayed accomplished this theme and answered it well, with many different perspectives and ideas being addressed. However for me personally, this is by far not the favourite exhibition I have seen, I felt that some pictures almost took this idea of truth too far, and showed inappropriate images, especially of children. Both Elinor Carucci and Ana Casas Broda show their children in some very personal and vulnerable situations that many people would see as inappropriate to photograph of anyone, especially children, as they would be unaware and could be seen as taken advantage of. Has Carucci and Casas Broda considered the consequences that these pictures may have on their children when they are older? And will the children like the photographs? For me this links to the work of Sally Mann, who got much criticism for her photographs of her children that were seen as too sexual and inappropriate. I feel that now due to the work of Mann, work like Carucci’s and Casas Broda’s has been more accepted into society, as people are aware of this kind of photography as they have seen similar work from Mann.


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