I’m very honored to be part of the latest Typical Girls magazine and to have been given the opportunity to write for their “Generations” issue a piece relating to working with my daughters for Blood Line. I have huge respect for the creators Jamila Prowse (who had interviewed me when I was a BPF Open16 Solo Finalist with Locked-in), Celiya Köster and Chani Wisdom who have put together an engaged, intelligent, thoughtful and thought provoking 140 pages of personal stories by women in the arts exploring anything from racial and gender representation issues to family dynamics (and all the photography is pretty awesome too). I truly am in awe of them – I know that we are not defined by our age but I can not help but wonder “what was I doing that mattered when I was a 22???”. After reading my copy, I wanted to order previous issues but it turns out they are sold out, so I really encourage you to get this one now while it’s still available!
“Typical Girls is an alternative magazine, standing as a platform for a collection of women to share their stories and art. The magazine proves there is no such thing as a ‘typical girl’, there isn’t one right way to be a girl, but you decide who you are.”
Below is the full text of the published narrative.
“Once your parents pass away, you realise you’re next in line”, I once was told. It seemed likely, but it didn’t really concern me – I was only 13 years old. Even today my grand-mothers are still alive, so “next in line” should logically not be on my mind yet. But life is rarely logical. My father was diagnosed a year ago with terminal cancer at the tender age of 64. His unescapable illness and his impending death changed everything. I saw my father’s pain, my girls’ as well, and I felt my own. My series Blood Line was conceived a few months after that. I photographed my daughters, my flesh and blood, his descendants. He experienced, I processed, they embody.
Terminal illness turned our lives upside down. But I find it also affected communication and identity. When I was with my dad, he and I knew his days were counted. I was able to say things I might not have shared before, but I also found myself withholding other thoughts. My version of reality and truth shifted. Blood Line illustrates that language becomes coded and that our sense of Self morphs.
I’m a parent like any other, snapping iPhone pictures of birthday cakes and school shows, big events and little nothings. I had briefly photographed my eldest daughter in my previous project, Locked-in. But it is the first time that I created a substantial body of work with both girls. Never before have I felt more a mother as well as a photographer in the same 1/125th of a second.
I had expected some feet-dragging but the girls are actually very invested in Blood Line. I knew what I wanted and they were also very clear about what they were willing to do. And they cared beyond modeling. The youngest would sometimes make set suggestions, I called her my mini art director. Her sister liked to see me choose the final frames. She has a talent in recognising “the right picture” and would make for a terrific editor. I photographed them on average 20 minutes per week; sometimes we worked on consecutive days, but we could also go a month without shooting. Occasionally, watching a YouTube video took priority over my desire to create, and that’s fine too. They are kids and I could wait a day. Hence, collaborating with them has been both enriching and lovely.
So much of my work is about the conceptual – highlighting some universal red threads throughout what otherwise is a very personal experience. But my then 9 years old once stated gravely “This work is important.”. I thought it endearing but she was extremely serious. It matters to her because it is about her grand-father. And her comment made me understand that beyond the mother who loves and raises them and the artist who photographs them, I am also the literal link between my father and my daughters; and so is Blood Line. A year later, my Dad is gone. And when I am too, the work will still be there connecting us all.”