15 Photos That Show The Intimate Relationship Between Mothers & Daughters

Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"Women are expected to be emotionally available, soft, and tender — and yet, all these attributes are deemed signs of weakness," says photographer Samantha Conlon as she explains the inspiration behind her most recent project, Daughters. "The project’s concept and the conversation around softness and intimacy can only exist in relation to its opposite: masculinity," she adds, speaking directly to a major theme throughout her work.

As a member of the Bunny Collective, an all-female artist collective that spans countries, Conlon strives to present her audience with realistic, courageous, and alternative images of femininity. "I started a body of work called Girl As Weapon a few months before [starting Daughters], which was looking into a way of subverting the typical archetypes of femininity: softness, pink, etc...After a good few months of working on that, I felt like I needed to look at the positive aspects femininity and get away from the anger for a while."

This desire to continue to challenge depictions of women and girls, but in a more intimate way, is what led Conlon to spending the weekends with her sisters and their daughters, photographing them through their everyday lives. After six months of quiet observation, Conlon produced a series of images that are at once voyeuristic and confrontational. They depict moments in the lives of these women that seem inconsequential. Nevertheless, the viewer understands their importance.

Click through for the rest of the series and more from Conlon on her process.

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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I am always aiming to show strength in softness," explains Conlon.
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I wanted to really elevate the female experience."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I wanted to use mothers and daughters particularly as I came from a family of nearly all females."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"Women are expected to be emotionally available, soft, and tender — and yet, all these attributes are deemed signs of weakness."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I think [the project] allowed my sisters to view their relationships with their children objectively from an outsider’s perspective."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"[This project] was one of the most important bodies of work I will make for me personally, and for my family."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"Working within my family brought up a lot of memories I had with my sisters."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"[I took these photographs to] show how intimacy and softness is important to development and are not just trivial things."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I wanted to focus in particular on female relationships and the effect it has on girl’s identities as they are growing up."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I want people to see intimacy and emotional openness as a vital part of being human, instead of it being hidden away or shrouded in shame."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"[Starting out], I became focused on...how parents sort of inform the identity of their children from a young age and how this can be damaging to them."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I spent a lot of time over the six months just observing their normal family rituals, trying to capture those moments I remember from my childhood that formed the bond between the women in my family and me."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"[These photographs] served as a snapshot of this time in my nieces' lives where they are forming personalities and bonding with each other. "
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I didn’t set up many shots, I just asked them to get into whatever they were comfortable in and let the shoot guide itself."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Conlon.
"I think in showing the mothers and daughters, it says as much about fathers and sons... The reason why we see femininity as weakness is through society’s obsession with masculinity."
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