/18 Family

Julia Fullerton-Batten

Mothers and Daughters

In my latest project, “Mothers and Daughters” I portray the complex and sometimes challenging relationship between a mother and her daughter. It is both documentary and biographical, as it also illustrates memories of my and my two sisters’ relationships with our mother, and even her relationship with her mother.

I chose to work with real mother and daughter pairs in their own environment, rather than with models or actors. I only needed to orchestrate the sitters moderately to show the essence of their emotional bond. We created their own small world together, at the same time, through the staging of the scene, reviving for me memories of my own family’s relationships.

As the project grew in shape, form and content, and I related to twenty different mother and daughter pairs, with their very varied, sometimes ultra-sensitive relationships, I realised how much the fragility and vulnerability of females is exposed fully in the mother-daughter relationship.

Over passage of time the relationship changes significantly. The babe-in-arms is fully dependent on the mother, but at the other end of the age scale, the mother often becomes dependent on her daughter to satisfy her emotional needs. In the adult relationship the intimacy of the bond is established on the love, struggle and rivalry of a shared life-time, leading to a mature understanding and acceptance of each other. Between childhood and adulthood, the full spectrum of emotions is played out. My images try to capture all of these very different stages in this extremely special relationship.