“The beauty not only lies in the images themselves, but in what they represent: the unbreakable bond between a mother and a child,” states Carolina Herrera in the book’s foreword. “For me, shooting this book, it was all heart-focused. It was my first body of work in which I wanted to connect on a heart level with others, I wanted to create images that were inspiring and spoke to some greater human experience, like motherhood,” said Frank.
SHOP: Mother and Child by Claiborne Swanson Frank, $85,00, published by ASSOULINE.
The book idea came to Swanson Frank after the birth of her first son, Hunter. “My small reality of life and my own needs exploded with the birth of my first son. I suddenly felt a responsibility and purpose I had never known before. With my new insight, I felt inspired to tell a modern story of motherhood, to document and honour this profound human experience. My hope was to take portraits of mothers and their children that captured love and joy, to try to stop time in a series of portraits – and show how this experience connects us all.”
Complimenting her work is a series of questions and answers, in which Claiborne talks to each mother to look within themselves and express what being a mother truly means to them. You can find their answers extremely thoughtful and introspective, while also funny and moving at the same time, making it a delicious and heartwarming read over a cup of tea. Or coffee, if you’re a mom! The moment you start reading through it, you embark on this deeply intimate and profound journey that will inspire and remind you of the power of motherhood and the greatest gift there is: love.
The photographer and author has traveled across all America to meet and capture the mothers of her book in their homes, the places that are most special to them: four generations of the Bush women at their family’s Maine compound; Aerin Lauder and her mother, Jo Carole, outside Estee Lauder’s former home in Wainscott, New York; or Lauren Santo Domingo poolside with her young children at their Long Island home.
“It was so important to me to have families be photographed in environments they connected to, have joy in, and that represent a place of freedom, play, and love,” she continues. “That really helped tell the story of who they were as mothers.”
The book was about four years in the project, and has been put off while CSF has had both her children. When the time was right, she took a leap of faith and let the families really lay loose, and capture natural, spontaneous moments. In a mix of location, subjects and wardrobe, the shots are perfectly captured in the places that are dearest to them, and where they feel like home.
It is a summerish book, featuring nature’s best wide-open spaces: lakes, fields, barns, gardens, beaches and old roads.