The Picture of Motherhood


We’re longtime fans of the work of Vogue editrix turned it-girl photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank. Her first two tomes – American Beauty and Young Hollywood have permanent places on our shelves and serve as daily inspiration around our offices. So when we learned that the frozen dinner heiress would be producing a third collection of her work – only this time focused on the rare and beautiful bond between mothers and their children – our hearts skipped a beat. Mother and Child (Assouline, $85) depicts 70 iconic families through Swanson Frank’s unique lens – one that captures what motherhood means in the 21st century – via sunlit portraits and casually (or in some cases, barely) clothed subjects.  The author goes on to interview each of her subjects, getting their intimate thoughts on the most heart wrenching – and rewarding – role of all…motherhood. “Motherhood transformed my world,” the beauty and mother of two young boys begins. “In many ways, I was a child until I had my own children. My small reality of my life and my own needs exploded with the birth of my first son.” It was this new insight that inspired Swanson Frank to capture the journeys of the women around her. “I wanted to document and honor this profound human experience – my hope was to take portraits of mothers and their children that captured love and joy,” she continues. And capture she did. From four generations of Bush women (Barbara Sr., Laura, Barbara Jr., Jenna, and Mila and Poppy) at their beloved Kennebunkport home, to Aerin Lauder and her mother Jo Carole Lauder, a poolside Lauren Santo Domingo with her children Beatrice and Nicolas, and Elizabeth Chambers Hammer nursing her young son Ford while daughter Harper stares sheepishly into the camera – each image is more compelling than the last.

Featured image: Elizabeth Chambers Hammer with children Ford and Harper

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