Elizabeth Clark Libert’s book, Boy Crazy (Workshop Arts, Spring 2023), is an invitation to walk alongside a piece of her journey as she examines the effects of past traumas. Our experiences and subsequent memories don’t disappear; they all combine to create our story. Perspectives may shift over time, layers of life may contribute to different contexts, but the events themselves can’t be undone. With trauma, these pieces of our story can get stuck, and, as a result, our mental health can be challenged.
In her own words, photographer Elizabeth Clark Libert writes:
“My sons are beautiful creatures, but I worry they might become monsters one day. . . . This book is the creative result of confronting painful sexual experiences from my past in an effort to become a better mother for my two sons, and to break a chain of generational trauma. Through a collection of imagery, diaristic text, and interviews, I share my story while exploring themes of childhood, fading innocence, motherhood, and mental health.”
Boy Crazy comprises color photographs of Libert’s two young sons interacting with daily life, independently and together, against the backdrop of an Eden-like landscape—their gestures, expressions, and bodies exploring, tumbling, and tussling. But Libert is also considering her own mothering of boys in particular, watching her two sons grow and move further from the pure innocence of infancy. One of the issues the artist addresses is her sons’ personal agency over their imagery, as well as the reclaiming of her own. Images containing nudity have been intentionally altered to simultaneously bring attention to inherent sexuality and to protect the subjects.
“The experience of making this work has granted catharsis, self-forgiveness, awareness, and ultimately the seeds of a fledgling confidence as a mother, female, and artist. It is my hope that it can help others with the same.”—Elizabeth Clark Libert
Elizabeth Clark Libert creates photo-based projects that examine themes both autobiographical and psychoanalytical in nature. Focused on subjects close to home, Libert develops a new kind of family album—one that reconsiders stages of her life through a variety of visual and contextual approaches. The artwork is vulnerable, revealing introspective and extrospective observations of the relationships and cultural influences from her immediate world.
Elizabeth Clark Libert : Boy Crazy
Editor: Jonathan Blaustein
Design: Caleb Cain Marcus, Luminosity Lab
Dimensions: 7.5 x 11.25 inches
Number of pages: 120
Binding: Swiss binding