We received such a wonderful group of photographs, with a wide range of perspectives and emotional qualities – from joyful to humorous and from patient to agonized. The pictures included feedings, messy playrooms, babes in arms, babes in strollers, diaper changes, and so many tired moms and dads. In some of the pictures, parents were invisible – the emotional and physical labor are seen only in the child within the frame, the child for whom all that work gets done. I was so heartened by the pictures of multiple generations and of family portraits, showing all the many ways that families can look. It was interesting to note the frequent presence of tablets and smartphones – technology is definitely more apparent now than my last big curatorial project on parenthood, just seven years ago.
One thing I appreciated in these photographs were the bodies suggesting the physicality of bearing and raising children. Some photographs called attention to the ways that bodies touch; in photographs, it becomes a puzzle-like series of interlocking connections between children and adults. In other pictures, bodies overlap, and the layering of child and parent obscures parts of one or the other, leading me to think about succession and shared characteristics. And then there are many pictures here that show bodies changed by pregnancy and birth. Those corporeal changes parallel the way our identities are also changed by pregnancy and birth.
It was as hard to pick the award winners as it was to pick the selections for exhibition from the large group. For me, the pictures work together to create an encyclopedia of the moments of parenting that we recognize and experience, and so it was the collective qualities of the various photographs that made me excited about this exhibition, not the work of a single photographer or a particular photograph. Overall, I was looking for pictures that distinctly conveyed a specific quality of parenting and provided some insight into the experience of caring for a child or of a child caring for their parent. Small details in these photographs opened up worlds of associations and memories. Exquisite light, jubilant color, mysterious compositions, telling interactions, and significant moments in significant relationships made me want to draw those pictures together to create a collective portrait of parenthood as experienced in a million passing moments, many hardly notable, and yet together they describe the role of parenthood – perhaps the most important role so many of us will ever occupy.
— Rebecca Senf
Call for Entries
Parenthood is a constantly changing state of being as a child grows older and life becomes more complex. Along the way are moments of bafflement, intense love, rage, hurt – every imaginable state of mind in both parent and child. We seek images that describe moments of Parenthood.
We are very pleased that Rebecca Senf will jury and curate this exhibition. She will select approximately 35 images for exhibition in the gallery, and up to 40 for our Online Gallery. All 75 selected images will be promoted on social media, reproduced in the exhibition print catalog, and remain permanently on our website, with links to photographer’s URL.
Information about our printing service and free matting and framing here.
Banner and thumbnail image: Cathlin McCullough
Click image below to enlarge
About the Juror
Rebecca Senf, Ph.D. is Chief Curator at the Center for Creative Photography, in Tucson, Arizona. She has been at the Center, a research center about the history of photography founded in 1975, since 2007. She curates exhibitions drawn from the Center for Creative Photography’s holdings that go on view in galleries in both Tucson and at the Phoenix Art Museum. Some of her past exhibitions include Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence; Human Nature: the Photographs of Barbara Bosworth; Odyssey: the Photographs of Linda Connor; Charting the Canyon: Photographs by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe; and Face to Face: 150 Years of Photographic Portraiture. Her publications include essays in many artist monographs, as well as Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams (2020); To Be Thirteen, works of Betsy Schneider (2017); Reconstucting the View: The Grand Canyon Photographs of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe (2012); and Ansel Adams From the Lane Collection (2005, reprinted in 2013).
Senf is open to reviewing any type of work, although she is most likely to be able to comment on photography that is created as personal expression (i.e. yes to landscapes, figure studies, still lives, portraits, auto-biographical work, abstracts, etc. in color, black-and-white, alternative processes, digital or film based – not as helpful with commercial work or photojournalism). Special interests are artists working with vernacular/snapshot/found imagery, fatherhood, and grief. She can comment on every step of the art making process from idea to object making, from editing to exhibition presentation, and from sequencing to publication. Senf’s primary role as a reviewer is to provide constructive criticism and feedback from the museum curatorial perspective, but acquisitions and exhibitions might be possible. Senf also juries various exhibitions and prizes; can act as a reference on grants; and can write essays for publication.