Exploring what the central mystery of the bond between women and across generations might be, Mothers & Daughters marks the first photographic delineation of the emotionally laden, socially explicit relationship between mothers and daughters.
What is astonishing, what can give us enormous hope and belief in a future in which the lives of women and children shall be amended and rewoven by women's hands, is all that we have managed to salvage, of ourselves, for our children ... the tenderness, the passion, the trust in our instincts, the evocation of a courage we did not know we owned, the detailed apprehension of another human existence, the full realization of the cost and precariousness of life.
Mothers and daughters! Are there any fantasies or ideal images left to us in this tough-minded age of psychological realism? Do we still yearn (without admitting it) for the imagined paradise of lost Mother-Daughter delights that some of us have never known?
In January 1986, Aperture began work on the Mother-Daughter project, which we hoped would describe the changing nature of women in American society and further examine how those changes had altered or affirmed the traditional familial bond.
We are indebted to Carole Kismaric for her invaluable advice in picture research; to Frances Fralin for her warmly appreciated recommendations; to Larry Frascella, George Slade and David Lee for their editorial assistance at Aperture; to Mary Virginia Swanson for her timely assistance in contacting photographers; to Peter A. Anderson and Elizabeth J. McCoy for their guidance in systemizing the deluge of photographs...
PHOTO CREDITS p. 5, courtesy Magnum Photos Inc., New York: p. 33, collection of Sallie Norquist, Ph.D. and John Filak, Ph.D.; pps. 46, 52, 53, courtesy Archive Pictures, Inc., New York; p. 54, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York; pps. 59, 60, 61, courtesy Magnum Photos Inc., New York;
Tillie Olsen is the author of Tell Me a Riddle, Yonnondio, Mother to Daughter: Daughter to Mother, and Silences. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the O. Henry Award for the best short story in 1961, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and honorary degrees from several colleges and universities, including the University of Nebraska.