Au nom de la mère is a photographic auto-ethnography that re/presents the mother subject and the mother/daughter bond within a cultural milieu where the maternal experience is both ignored and feared. The photographs capture intimate and powerful moments of a personal relationship exposing the complex dichotomies and multilayered identities inherent in the mother daughter experience.
Drawing on my own understanding of the maternal as a daughter, I use photography as a tool to explore the paradoxically intimate and detached nuances of the maternal experience - pain, loss, love and desire - I visit this experience with a feminist theoretical lens that traverses and transgresses traditional representations of motherhood found in art history and reinforced through contemporary images of the Western nuclear family.
Au nom de la mère (In the name of the Mother) refers to my mother’s French heritage and maiden name, du Bignon. This project facilitates an intimate reconnection with the mother which supports the process of legally changing my last name from the paternal to the maternal. The act of photography as a creative practice may allow for reconnection with the maternal and du Bignon name.