Artist's Statement

Whitney Bradshaw

30x30 Archival Inkjet Prints

Slow Release, documents a fleeting moment of major transition, one which ends as our daughters, in the act of becoming and forming their own identities, prepare to move out into the world on their own. I chose to embark on this project when my daughter, Ruby, turned 13 and I was 46. That year seemed to mark the beginning of one of the most pivotal periods in our relationship and in our own separate and personal development. We found ourselves simultaneously traveling through adolescence and peri-menopause; both major biological shifts heavily weighted and prescribed by society as notoriously difficult. The resulting images of Ruby and our community of mothers and daughters of the same age, push against the dominant narrative.

The series is an extended family portrait of the strong and diverse group of mothers and daughters closest to us. We call on each other when faced with the uncertainty of how to proceed as parents during trying times. We are each other’s supporters, champions, and dear friends. Together we wade through this extraordinarily loving and extremely challenging territory, knowing things will be different for all of us on the other side of this seismic shift.

I set out, with Ruby, to make three portraits at each of the families’ homes; including one of the mother/s and daughter/s, another of Ruby and the teen/s, and a picture of Ruby alone. By approaching this project from three distinct vantage points I aim to complicate the series allowing the viewer to witness several relationships and watch Ruby, the constant, grow over time.

The work is about mother-daughter relationships, aging, and gender but it is also about identity, race, representation, and power. My daughter is bi-racial therefore I think about race and the power of representation every day, consciously working to create positive images that counter negative media messaging.