Mother at 21
At 5 with my family
Mother, circa 1941
At 12, photography seemed like magic to me, something girls couldn't understand.
The house we moved into when I was 7
My first photography assignment to photograph something you need to understand led me to Mother's bedroom as her bath was running. Her nudity was no surprise. I waited, then snapped a picture.
Off the phone, she sat on the bed to show me some boring business papers.
Then she decided to get into a sexy pose. I took 2 more pictures, but really, I didn't yet know how to take pictures.
She wanted just one more sexy one. Okay, I said.
Then we laughed. I had 5 negatives - what would I DO with them? I made a few prints, we laughed about them, then I hid them until she died in 1991..
Could I make big prints of these? Yes! My firsts tri-x negatives enlarged to 20x24!
1976, 3 years later, I was back again hoping to do bare breasted pictures of the 2 of us. Yes, she agreed, but first wanted one of herself alone.
Soon we're both in the bare breasted pose, cable release bulb in my hand. Then you say it. Again. I knew you would. “It’s too bad your breasts aren’t as pretty as mine.”
I go behind the camera and you start tweaking your breasts: "Come on little fella! Stand up! Come on! Don't you hear me take the picture? My camera is very loud.
In your dressing room with the 3 mirrored doors and so much perfume that I can't breathe.
A morning pop in visit.
You like to show me your exercises.
Your look of frustration, trying to control your anger.
Four generations of females: Dear, Mother, me, Alison.
A surprise at a temple reception
Love and Marriage
The plastic surgeon getting the "before" pictures.
This is what I look like now.
This is what I WANT to look like.
Always disappointed that I wouldn't airbrush your wrinkles, I've found an old portrait in which the airbrush has faded.
Your favorite from the sitting with the professional portrait photographer, Kaye Marvins.
But THIS is the one I like best, one that I took in 1976. Many years later I can see her sad eyes.
My grandmother, Dear, in her living room in Monroe, LA, c. 1930. Me on the same couch in Santa Fe, NM, 1998.
I posed for George Segal in 1983.
Mother and her paramour, an affair that lasted from 1966-74. Daddy died in 1971.
My children, Barry and Alison, at Mother's wedding in 1978.
Mother and Al in their bedroom
Mother in her dining room.
And in her office.
Mother, 70, in her ostrich feather dress. This picture looked angry to me until Joan Coke exclaimed, “My! What an elegant woman!” Instantly, I missed her - the same picture no longer looked angry.
Mother took all of us on a 2-week cruise for her birthday, but she was always angry with one of us, usually me.
Before and after her stroke, 1987-88. She refused to work at rehab: "But Mother, the doctors say you could walk again!" "Don't push me, Gay!"
Al wanted to move so they bought a new apartment in a fancier building. Eight days later she had a stroke. She'd always said that people her age shouldn't move. This always happens.
The last images I made of Mother. She had deteriorated and was often angry. She died a month later, in 1991.
What was Mother's is now mine
"I Begin to Forgive You" This text is a tight synopsis of the book I did about Mother, Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed
Mother's jewelry, in 8x10 photographic paper boxes
My jewelry, in 8x10 photographic paper boxes
Mother's I LOVE YOU bracelet
My brother Sidney at a basketball game. He owned the Denver Nuggets for a few years.
Sidney and me in his Denver apartment, c. 1985
Sidney in hospital after his accident in 1998, after which he lived five years as a paraplegic.
Me in Mother's Wedding Dress
Me in Mother's Nightgown
Mother's Furs returned to the wild, Santa Fe, NM
Mother gave herself weekly manicures - never thought the pros did it well.
The contents of Mother's Purse
How I changed as I was working on the book about my relationship with Mother. c. 1994, with her aroma still in her fur coat. c. 1997, coming up for air. c. 2000, Breathing