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Self-Portraits of an Artist's Journey Into Motherhood

Provocative. Etherial. Humorous. Luminous.

All of the above adjectives could be used to describe the bold exploration of motherhood you’re about to see.

The series,”A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mother,” features artist Katharina Bosse who, for the first time, appears with her own children and chose to “undress (or dress up) and create images of motherhood I had not seen before.”

In an interview published in the book, How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood, Bosse, who had her first child at 36, explains how the idea for the project was born and how she balances being an artist and a mother.

“Back then I wondered how having children would fit into a lifestyle centered around work. Having children made traveling and shooting long hours more difficult. I am less visible now; I have to choose more carefully which art events to go to, which people to meet. Motherhood forced me to be more patient, working in smaller increments at a time. The series “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mother”, which deals with the transition into motherhood, became a long-term, multi-layered project. It is personal, political and less marketable than my previous work.”

How to reconcile the artist with the mother? And how to find time to do both simultaneously? The question most working moms face. Bosse acknowledges the irony of the endeavor. “In order to create a project about Motherhood, I needed: studio space, money (quite a bit because the images are large-scale), and childcare so I could work without interruptions. In order to create an art project about Mothering, I actually needed time and space that was Mothering-free. Doesn’t this sound funny?”

Katharina has done a superb job exploring what has been described as the “complex process of motherhood and the frightening strength behind stereotyping. In the photos you’re about to see, Bosse thumbs her nose at the traditional motherly stereotype, posing with her babies in the water, in the sand, in the leaves, most often naked where she, as confesses to Alison Zavos on featureshoot.com, she “lets herself do things that only her body could recount.”

See then, Katharina’s body recount her exploration of an artist transitioning into motherhood.

(Note: some photos do contain slight nudity and may not be appropriate around kids or at work.)


View the rest of the series on Katharina Bosse’s website.

Katharina’s words on balancing your passion with parenting are worth repeating as they speak to all of us struggling with the same transition from our former lives into our time of motherhood: “I cannot allow myself to dive into too much manic energy. I miss that sometimes but it feels good to raise my little tribe. The children call to me the same way my images do, but louder. Nurturing them makes me feel at home. Still, whenever I get a break, I take off into the strange worlds of my own mind, in which my images are waiting to be brought into life. And if these breaks don’t happen, I fight for them.”

You can purchase the book How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood by clicking here.

*All photos used with permission from Katharina Bosse.

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.

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