Monday, September 6, 2010

The Shoebox Photos

Painter Jenny Belin found a stack of old photos of her mother in a shoebox, three years after her death. The photo album rejects, as Belin calls them, shined a flashlight onto a private part of her mother's mind.

"In so many ways my mother was and is still a mystery to me. August 20th was the 13th anniversary of her death. I still miss her a lot. I know that I always will. Missing her is a process and also a puzzle.

10 years ago I made 58 paintings, all about my mother, inspired by photographs that I found in a shoebox she kept in her closet. Unloved rejects that never made it to her albums, the photos that intrigued me most were from when I was very young.

I wasn't even three years old the first time she had cancer. It wasn't that my mom was ever secretive with me about her illness. She was protective. I understand it better now, what drew me to those images. I was confused by them because they didn't accurately represent my memories. At the same time I found an honesty that I didn't see in the pictures that were my mother's favorites.

3 years ago, I felt that smiley happy family photos were completely phony. I feel so different now. For one thing, I absolutely love to see photos of my mother smiling."

See some of Jenny Belin's portraits here.

I heart mom

Forget the original skin homage to mom, Joshua Conkel took his mother loving to the next level. He sent in this photo of his brand new tattoo. It's inspired by this incredible picture of his own iconic mother, Theresa, at 13.

"This picture was taken sometime around the mid 60's. A few years later she'd become a radical feminist, I'm sure, but when this was taken she was still as fresh as the driven snow and adorable as can be. I should also mention that she hates this photo and will probably be angry when she sees I've tattooed it on my body. Angry and touched, I hope."