Key elements from my supervision meeting this week:

  • Rearrange some of the elements to allow more space, particularly in last five pages
  • reduce or expand the image of Sue, which is a poor quality tungsten lit image from the family album
  • Consider the lingering payoff at the end.
  • Consider newspaper club printing just to get something physical to interact with
  • Consider how the website can offer something different, yet complimentary, to the book offer

The last five pages have always been a little problematic for a number of reasons given the project is about Other Mothers.

First, I end with a man, my father.

Of course, for my purposes here I am not interested in him as a man, but as a mother.

The crucial distinction between maternity and maternality is the essence, if indeed there is one, of the entire work.

But I do not wish to force this point, preferring instead to tease it and to let a sense of the work linger, either with a question or a soft full stop.

So this was how it looked:

There was no real slowing of pace and the text top left was too bunched. And the yellow brush-boat was doing more work than it could reasonably be expected to – hinting at both bi-polarity and of bi-functionality (toy/nail brush – father/mother).

So the thinking was to break up the text, space out the images to change the pace, create more space and end with a form of dialogue – my father’s quotes first, followed by a refrain by myself. I think it is far more effective this way, and it makes the maternity-maternality distinction by bypassing the audience directly (which would be didactic) and instead a final utterance both to my father, and to the various women stemming back to the start of the work. It is, in my view, pleasingingly circular.

In case the above is too small to read, it says:

“Being a single parent was one of the great joys of my life.”

Being held and raised in such a cushion of maternality (as opposed to maternity) was one of mine.

The website on which this work sits has been well received by the small handful of people I have shown it to. I’ve aimed to use space in a manner similar to that planned for the printed/PDF version, whilst also including various audio segments collected during my photography sessions with my Other Mothers.

But, in discussion with Laura, I increasingly felt I needed to feel my project, to have it sit in my hands as a ‘thing’. I’ve laid out a copy of the project in newspaper format (two copies to a newspaper, which I then plan to cut in half horizontally).

Hopefully, that will arrive next week. Now that I feel the work itself is pretty much ‘there’, I need to consider what forms of presentation beyond the digital gallery it might take. I was inspired to see Nikki’s work which was so beautifully presented both in the book form and in its casing (resembling a slide box). I doubt I have the imagination, skill or time to make something as fantastic for Other Mothers, but I shall be considering it.

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