4 years ago10,000+ Views
Susan Swihart left her career in advertising to start a family, however she returned to the working world in photography. Susan's newest project is a series of self portraits that takes a closer look motherhood and identity. The project If Only attempts to explore the chaos of parenting and how it effects parents on a personal level. Susan hits at the theme of loss of self due to the obligation to family, and the routine and nurturing of her family taking priority in her life. This project really asks the question about self identity when identity is not up for consideration. Here are a few words from Susan as she went through and documented this experience: "IF ONLY is a personal narrative of self portrait work that explores the challenges of being a wife, mother, artist, daughter and friend in the middle of a crossroads, at the middle of my life, not quite sure who I am now or what direction I am heading. It’s a period that feels out of balance, a time where I struggle with the concept of aging and lost youth and the pursuit of having it all when I’m not really sure I want it. Often feeling that the person I thought I was has disappeared, replaced by familial needs and that slow and steady march through time as I shepherd my family forward. I am a participant observer in a life where I watch my children grow and take our place, while at the same time observe parents deteriorate. I’m lost somewhere in the middle with little room or time for personal growth or a clear understanding where I fit on the spectrum of my life. Not much time to reflect, but plenty of time to be wistful."
This definitely showed an interesting and real perspective of parenthood.
Great project - it really hits on things that parents feel deeply conflicted about. Unfortunately it focuses on these negative feelings of loss - which are there, certainly, but it's good to remember what we gain as well as people in the experience of parenthood. Still, though,the feelings are definitely real and shared so it is great to see someone really explore these issues that still nag at us as parents. I think people in the Parenting community would also really appreciate seeing this artistic perspective on this part of their experience!
@sanityscout I agree that it's unfortunate that the artist only focused on negative things, but it is a very real and interesting project!
@sanityscout @maymay75 @AnthonyB I'm glad you all responded so well to this project. I'll be sure to add it to parenting if you feel the community there would appreciate it!
Beautiful imagery and a thought provoking question. I may be less knowledgable in this specific idea as I am not a parent, but the question itself is very interesting. I feel Swihart did a great job in portraying this identity crisis, if you want to call it that.