One in five…
photographer as single mom
One in five… situates my particular family unit in a larger context and raises questions about single parenthood, growth, change, women’s work and social responsibility for raising children.
The starting point of One in five… was the collection of images of my two children which I had been making for years. The series combines black and white photographs with my own commentary about parenting and bits of conversations about growing up without a dad – the tension behind the pictures of health, beauty and vitality. The narrative sequence begins in 1978 and ends 13 years later in 1991. The story, of course, goes on.
While my previous exhibit Giving Birth is Just the Beginning: Women Speak about Mothering was a collective project, this one has been more solitary. Pouring through all my pictures and contact prints was fun, full of sweet, wrenching and proud memories. Developing the text was more difficult. For months I would feel knotted up, sorting out my statement, sifting through my experience and trying to understand it in a less personal way: What is my situation, exactly? How did I get here? Why are mostly women alone doing this job? There have to be better ways to raise our kids than to depend on women, often alone, to do the job. To me that means a better social and political environment for raising future generations.
Many people deserve mention for their support and helpful contributions in the development of One in five…; in particular, thanks to Judith Berman, Erna Buffie, Bob Giard, Nicola Landry, Greta Hofmann Nemiroff, George Mitchell, Shirley Pettifer, Sally Stein, Cherry van Son and, of course, Corina and Gideon, who contributed not only the imagery but also much of the text, taped during a discussion about the photos in January 1992.
Judith Lermer Crawley