Monday, May 14, 2007


Last night Sundance premier'd the Tierney Gearon film The Mother Project and it is quite a compelling hour of film making. I'm sure most of you by now know the back story of Gearon's work, and the subject of this film continues the interaction between the artist, her mother and her own children. The photographs she takes are personal studies of her family, yet raise larger issues of aging, mental illness, and the complicated dynamic of the mother-child relationship. Also breaking as many photo rules as possible in one hour. Its heartbreaking at times to watch, the mother-daughter aspect not the rule breaking, but a side from the emotional response, my wife especially had, I found myself watching her more as a photographer and how she worked, than Tierney the mother. Catching things she did throughout the film that would get you thrown off set and fired immediately from almost all shoots. Now I know this is petty for such a weighty subject as Alzheimer's, but I just had to laugh as she loaded film in bright, open sunlight, left the bag of film sitting in the midday sun without a hint of shade. She also left the new born baby out in the Midday sun without a hint of shade but which is worse? Many European photographers I know would pick the former. Lots of shooting handheld in very dark situations, yet the images seemed to have no movement. Shooting in bright sunlight and heavy shade but the images have plenty of everything, shadow detail, highlights, not a piece of fill insight. Her printer Mick Jones would seem to be the star here, that guy must do Trojan work. Not all of these are rules but at least general parameters. People will find these photo infractions small potatoes compared to her mothering skills, as I'm sure many people would like to throw her out of the mothers club all together, but all of this led to a fascinating piece and well worth the watch.

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