Location: Liberty, NY, United States
In my project, The Absurdity of Pregnancy and Motherhood, I am questioning the implicit societal, materialist, and gender norms that broadly shape the lives of women within an American consumerist context. Employing the languages of conceptual, documentary, and typological photography, I have created docu-stages scenes within my own home to craft a personal narrative of maternity and parenthood. My work peels back the romanticism that surrounds pregnancy and motherhood to reveal the abject – the messiness and physicality of human life, often considered private and unmentionable. Woven through the overarching narrative of this project, which begins with a birth announcement and continues through the “fourth” trimester, I interspersed investigative vignettes among a series of self-portraits and still life images. Implied within the series are my own observations of the ways in which the expectations of pregnancy and motherhood – formed through exposure to social media and parenting groups, to advertising campaigns, and to culture at large – do not prepare one for the realities, and absurdities of pregnancy and motherhood. Throughout the project, using farce and exaggeration, I satirize and name these absurdities and norms, presenting them as obstacles that occupy the physical and mental space required for human life, activity, and identification of self. Within otherwise typical domestic scenes and spaces, based in the reality of daily life, I introduce elements of the surreal to highlight and exaggerate the typically unspoken expectations of consumerism, gender, and social conformance and performance. The tropes include an over-abundance of consumer goods filling a home, and the comical disparity between the amount of space occupied by a new baby and that occupied by all of its things. The viewer is led to question their own complicity and reinforcement within these systems, and to consider how these absurdities have unconsciously taken up space in their own life.