"Trying to get a baby or a fussy toddler to sit still for a photograph can feel like a herculean task. Luckily, it only takes a second to get the shot. In the nineteenth century, however, it was a different story—particularly when it came to tintype portraits, which required a long exposure.
Photographer Laura Larson’s series, Hidden Mother, presents a survey of nineteenth-century tintype portraits in which the mother of the child was included in the photograph, but obscured.
In some instances, the mother would hold her child, with a cloth or props hiding her from the lens, or she would be painted over by the photographer after the image had been taken. In other examples, the mother is entirely absent from the frame, save for an arm, holding the child in place.
The results are both funny and slightly disturbing. The mother appears as an uncanny presence,Larson writes in a statement. Often, she is swathed in fabric, like a ghost.”
Gender violence is a human rights issue, so why is half the population removed from the discussion?
“Once language begins to shift, welcoming more people into the conversation of gender violence, we can begin to restructure our approach to the subject. As with any social change, education is the first step. It’s not enough to warn daughters of the risks of walking home alone, or teach them about date or marital rape. The more sons understand about their mothers’, sisters’, and girlfriends’ experiences as targets for gender violence, the more likely they are to be counted amongst the ambassadors for change. The encouraged dissection of their concepts of gender will result in consistent questioning of their and others’ assumptions and behaviors.”