Seth Kushner steps outside the box for project
We love giving our artists personal projects to attempt that will bring them outside of their own box. Get them to approach a topic in which they would’ve never thought about before. It also shines a light on the fact that no matter what we’re all doing thinking outside of the box is bound to get the creative juices flowing.
Which brings me to the latest personal project shot by Seth Kushner. Seth is known as some one who loves shooting and finding the true character in all of us. As we previously mentioned he has another book being published by PowerHouse coming out in May 2012. It is no secret that he loves comic books they represent characters that fascinate the imagination and those that create comic’s are visionaries such as Marvel maven Stan Lee or Neal Adams of Batman.
We challenged Seth to shoot real people who also represent a “character” or visionary and he came up with Mom’s. We couldn’t think of a better example ourselves.
Here is what Seth had to say about this personal project:
I’d been photographing artists, actors and pop culture-figures for various projects for some time, and last spring I was assigned a campaign to shoot 24 “real” people, and that brought me back to earlier works like my 2007 book, The Brooklynites for which I photographed over 300 people from Brooklyn, and it reminded me of how much I loved working with “real” people.
I decided I’d take a break from some of my long-term projects to work on something utilizing “real” people. In thinking about what kind of project I might create, I looked at my life, and as the father of a two and a half year-old, I’m surrounded by families and from that I had to notion to photograph mothers.
From the time my son was born, I realized there was something special about mothers. My wife immediately took on the role of “mom” and it was the most natural thing in the world. I had to learn how to be a dad. My theory has been, there’s something special and inborn in women who become mothers, perhaps passed down through their genetic coding and it gives them the strength and wisdom needed for this vital role of caring for their baby.
I challenged myself to do a series of close-up portraits, which would show this unexplained, almost magical thing. My natural instinct as a long-time editorial photographer would be to show them with their children, or in their children’s rooms, but wanting to do something against my usual inclinations, I decided I would scale back and shoot without showing much environment or propping or styling and allow their faces to tell the story. I would give little direction and work very casually, in order to put my subjects at ease.
In choosing my subjects, I picked mothers who I admired, starting with my wife, who is the best mother I’ve ever seen. I also photographed my 92 year-old aunt who is not just a mother, but a great-great grandmother, my wife’s best friend and her mother, and even the actress who played Charlie’s mom in the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because when I was a kid, I thought she was a great mom.
This short-term project took me longer to complete than I had initially expected. Moms are busy! Some of them were even more difficult to nail down a session with than some celebrities! But in the end, I think I present a good cross-section of the face of motherhood.