There is a constant ying and yang in the act of motherhood, encompassing both the amazing and the tedious. Photographer Julie Blackmon talks of contemporary life as being overscheduled and frantic. Facing the pressure of being a perfect mother, while avoiding the possibility of losing her self, she has melded her situation to her work, successfully balancing her connection and her escape.
Blackmon says that her photography is grounded in her experience of being raised as a member of a large family and her relationship to her current large-family life in her Missouri town. Her work continues the journey of motherhood. Her portfolio Domestic Vacations offers a detailed look at events, which together can reference a one-act domestic comedy. How she accomplishes this is by neither happenstance nor luck.
Julie Blackmon’s photographs are a flawless combination of the spontaneous and the skillfully orchestrated. The first response is a willing suspended disbelief in what we see, much like our response to viewing a motion picture. Nothing initially appears strained or unusual in her familial tableaux. Then comes a realization of the number of subplots developing within a single image. Her work is simultaneously real and surreal, awesome, while at the same time comforting.
Blackmon explains that her work is heavily influenced by her sister, who is an author and illustrator of children’s books. But unlike an illustrator, who can create an event synthetically, the photographer creates her event in real time analytically. The succinct moment of capture is critical. Even if several takes are needed to capture the right mix for the complete visual narrative, each exposure has to contain the critical information for her concept to be photographically realized.