A small selection of photobooks in honour of Mother.

The Kitten’s Little Boy by Dare Wright
R TR729.C3 W75 1971
“Did you say his kitten? Cats never belong to people, said his mother [p.5]”.  A beautiful Dare Wright book in which an independent mother cat tries to explain to the littlest kitten that boys belong to cats, never cats to little boys.

Mother’s by Miyako Ishiuchi
TR140 .I842 2002

Clothing, lipstick, false teeth and other wonderful still-life depictions:

” … things that my mother left behind for me. I bring them out into the light one by one, to see their image onto photograph, as a farewell to her” — p. [55]. After the death of her mother Miyako Ishiuchi began an intimate and poetical exploration in which she examines the memory of her Mother through her belongings.

For all the world to see: visual culture and the struggle for civil rights by Maurice Berger ; foreword by Thulani Davis.
TR820.5.U6 .B47 2010
In 1955, shortly after Emmett Till was murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi, his grieving mother distributed to the press a gruesome photograph of his mutilated corpse. Asked why she would do this, she explained that by witnessing with their own eyes the brutality of segregation and racism, Americans would be more likely to support the cause of racial justice. “Let the world see what I’ve seen,” was her reply. The publication of the photograph inspired a generation of activists to join the civil rights movement.

Monsters and Madonnas by William Mortensen
R TR183.M67 1936
William Mortensen presents dramatic photogravure portraits of women which feature the dualistic aspects of the grotesque and the divine. In this book he explores the real and the artificial which makes you think about the nature of photography and also the meaning of this “Mother” holiday.

Y’know this would be a great title for a photography blog. . .

Pretend You’re Actually Alive by Leigh Ledare.
TR179 . L43 2008

This is a wonderful and complicated book in which Leigh Ledare intimately explores his relationship with his mother. At first some of the photographs may seem graphic and shocking, but as the narrative evolves through images and text Leigh portrays his mother with such a deep sensitivity that we know that this work is a triumph for tenderness and love. This truly is a modern photobook classic. A story which is extraordinarily raw, humourous and authentic in its depiction of the love between a mother and a son.

The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson
R TR140 .C371 1952
Another offering from the rare book section, this one is from one of the ICP’s stash of Decisive Moment’s. This copy is signed by Henri Cartier-Bresson and inscribed on a pasted Magnum Memo “To Julia, darling mother of big boys photographers with affections, Henri”. (Julia is the mother of Robert and Cornell Capa).

The ICP store window looks like this:

The ICP store has a splendid window display exhibiting images of the mothers of the ICP staff. Before you ask, the store shall be unable to sell the actual Mothers on exhibit. New York has strict laws about that sort of thing. But you can buy some really interesting photography related gifts for your own mothers within the store.

In the US Mother’s day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

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