Saint Lucy Press 2017
Hidden Mother tells the story of the adoption of Larson’s 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 mother’s 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 mother–often covered from head-to-toe in a black drop cloth–appears 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.
Laura Larson is a photographer who has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, including Art in General, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, SFCamerawork, Susanne Vielmetter/L.A. Projects, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Reviews of her exhibitions have appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time Out New York, and she has published artist projects in Cabinet, Documents, Open City and The Literary Review. She is the recipient of grants from Art Matters, Inc., New York Foundation of the Arts, and Ohio Arts Council, and of residency fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Ucross Foundation. Larson’s work is represented by Lennon, Weinberg Gallery in New York City. She earned a BA in English from Oberlin College, a MFA in Visual Art from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.