Hidden Mother tells the story of the adoption of Larsons daughter from Ethiopia as mapped through nineteenth-century hidden mother photographs. The term hidden mother refers to the widespread but little-known practice in 19th-century portrait photography of concealing a mothers body as she supported and calmed her child during the lengthy exposures demanded by early photographic technology. In the final portrait of the child, the motheroften covered from head-to-toe in a black drop clothappears as an uncanny figure. A practical strategy deployed by the photographer unintentionally yielded an evocative representation of the mother; never meant to be seen, her presence nonetheless haunts these images. Part photography book, part essay, Hidden Mother enlists these strange and powerful images to present a lyrical account of becoming a mother through adoption.
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