« Where do we go when we disappear into this fog of mothering? » For six years, Hungarian photographer Andi Galdi Vinko photographed her daily life as a pregnant woman and later a young mother. Far from the rosy pictures that still circulate today, she delivers an honest portrait of motherhood in all its states, both poetic and wild.
Referring to the feminist awareness of recent years and the empowerment of women over their own bodies, Andi Galdi Vinko noted that, until recently, within the art world, the question of motherhood was often sidelined, even taboo. As a mother-to-be, she had no authentic representation to turn to in order to understand this universal stage of a woman’s life. Sorry I Disappeared I Gave Birth but Now I’m Back aims to offer a more sincere portrait.
Starting from her own experience, Andi Galdi Vinko quickly enriched this picture with those of her relatives. The result is a series of portraits and details oscillating between raw realism and poetic semi-abstraction, punctuated by witty references to nature. An intimate and humorous documentation of the merry chaos that is motherhood, with its acrobatics and its — rare — moments of calm, its enchantments and its disenchantments.
There is something thrilling in being drawn into this frenzy, like an adrenaline shot, which, according to journalist Charlotte Jansen, is due to the great freedom that emanates from the series: « Andi’s images scream and shout and spill and overflow without any sense of constraint ». In her brilliant preface to the book, she describes how the photographer « radically reinvents the language of the domestic […] to encompass the outside world, the vastness of nature ».
Andi Galdi Vinko takes a candid look at the implications of motherhood: the pressuring of a body, of a household, of a life that is put aside for a time, that has to be rethought and that sometimes want to be reclaimed. The series is punctuated by comments written with a felt pen, interstices reflecting her questionings : « How can something so universal be so lonely? » or « I will have a big come back. I’m working on something. »
Sorry I Disappeared I Gave Birth but Now I’m Back thus highlights the difficulty for many female photographers of that pivotal period around their thirties when the question of becoming a mother arises along with opportunities to develop their career, generating a great deal of guilt: “The years to make the choice between having children or being successful are short and coincide with the years when one or the other might happen but none are guaranteed.”
A real breath of fresh air, Sorry I Disappeared I Gave Birth but Now I’m Back returns its universality to motherhood and transforms a step in life that for women is often synonymous with sacrifice into a manifesto of guilt-free creativity.
Andi Galdi Vinko : Sorry I Disappeared I Gave Birth but Now I’m Back
Published by Trolley Books
Foreword by Charlotte Jansen
Hardback with exposed spine
16.5 x 22cm / 6 ½ x 8 2/3 inches
Design: Emma Scott-Child
Available in bookstores and online