Category Archives: Portraiture

Invisible Mothers

A Flickr group is aggregating photographs of ‘hidden mothers’ – 19th Century photo-portraits were challenging for sitters because of the low emulsion sensitivity and consequently lengthy exposure times. In the case of children, one stress-reducing device for keeping them still was to cloak mothers and disguise them as a support on or against which the child rested. Thus, we have this strange but somewhat haunting collection of images which presents a great example technology (in this case, its limitations) unwittingly commenting on cultural attitudes and mores. Here’s to invisible mothers everywhere! [Thanks Laurie Sermos for bringing this to my attention.]