Fugue : by Lydia Goldblatt, £45.00 + Postage


£45.00 + Postage, order from GOST Books

Fugue by Lydia Goldblatt is a body of work about love and grief, mothering and losing a mother, intimacy and distance, told through photographs and writing. Centring on the domestic space and made over the course of four years, it tells a story that is neither apologetic nor idealised.

When Goldblatt became a mother she found herself unable to make pictures. However, after her own mother died, she began to photograph again, both at home and in the city around her.

‘I wanted to be honest about what I was struggling with, about the feelings of claustrophobia and rage, as much as intimacy and love. These are feelings so often hidden by mothers, so often silenced as unacceptable.’

Goldblatt works on medium format film to make her photographs. When she began this series it meant that the process was blind, and she didn’t see the images she was making for months. It allowed her to slow down physically and mentally and develop a way of looking and feeling intuitively. At the same time she also began writing.
Her lyrical text weaves throughout the book.

 ‘Photographing became a lifeline, a way of weaving past through present. Through my pictures and writing, I was able to think about the transformations that accompany motherhood and loss. And I could challenge the archetypes and taboos of motherhood. Beyond mothering, I have been able to explore a wider sense of caregiving through the relationships my partner holds with our children, those they hold with each other, and through the writing that spans generations. I hope that this work gives voice to a story that is both individual and collective.’

The photographs depict a rhythm of domestic life, the passing of days and seasons. They show the stillness of objects contrasted against small children moving in and out of frame and everchanging light. Goldblatt draws upon small details of daily life—the texture of skin and assorted sheets, mops, houseplants and mirrors—imparting not a record of life, but a feeling. The photographer herself is glimpsed through reflections, shadows or abstract flesh—placing herself both within the photographs and also as an observer, intimate and distant.

The title Fugue holds two meanings. The musical definition of interweaving and repeating elements in a composition which collectively create a complex narrative. It also refers to a dissociative state or loss of self. Both meanings encompass the transformations that accompany motherhood and loss, and the deeply personal and collective resonances of daily domestic life.

Commissioned by GRAIN Projects, published by GOST Books.
Order from GOST Books here.

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.