/ Emma O'Brien / Photo story

The Holding Place

While balancing unpaid emotional and domestic labour with full time paid work I believed there was no time for my photographic practice, it was an indulgence I just couldn’t afford. Motherhood demanded this sacrifice, it became a holding place, a temporary place, I would return to someday.

As my child grew, working with a feminist concept of intersubjectivity, “how to care for another and one’s self”, I began carving the time to explore my role as mother and artist. Photographing our everyday I document my experience of motherhood and mothering.

The Holding Place is made from motherhood. The small world that is inhabited, the recurring daily routines, the scant time available, and the intimacy of the mother child relationship all shape the work. Through this work I want to revalue certain traditional characteristics of the maternal, such as nurturance and care to be seen as loving political acts, rather than sentimental maternal traits.

Emma O’Brien is a lens based artist from Westmeath in Ireland who holds a degree in Photographic Media from Griffith College, Dublin. Her practice is concerned with themes of Mothering, family, childhood and home.