Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Self Portrait Taken By My Mother

Oct 05, 2019 - Elizabeth Hibbard

Monique Wittig makes me feel called out:

 

“But you know that not one will be able to bear seeing you with eyes turned up lids cut off your yellow smoking intestines spread in the hollow of your hands your tongue spat from your mouth long green strings of your bile flowing over your breasts, not one will able to bear your low frenetic insistent laughter. “

The Lesbian Body. Pg 15. Monique Wittig, Translated by David Le Vay, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York ,1975.

If I could pull every root from the soil then I might know, if there was anything left or just dry dirt with the nutrition and sapped up in beating sunlight.

 

This gaping hole, left by the clump of roots pulled up was something she gave me, it isn’t much but it is mine mine mine mine mine.

 

and it is part of her and the distinction between weeds and becoming gets more and more obscured. I am now almost the age she was when she first transformed into a mother.

 

how do you want me to look

 

And I sit her behind my camera. I take my shirt off. I gaze into the blue iris. She protests and begs and recoils initially at the curtain pulled back and the keys to the car handed to her.

 

And she drapes a curl of hair over my shoulder with one withered finger, and it brushes over my nipple. See me see me see me I entreat silently. She directs me in the scene, chin down, eyes up, smile for me, with your teeth, my baby girl.  It feels so good to not think about it again, to let the roots burrow in the brittle earth.

The photograph looks absolutely nothing like me.

 

My mother is devoted to her yard, it is where she flagellates herself. She rakes oak leaves behind the house all summer into bins that get taken every Thursday at dawn, their dried and spiny hulls will pierce into your skin if you don’t have proper callouses.

Just a few more.

 

Walking into the neighbor’s house, they stick into the soles of my feet. I am proud when they ask about it.”