BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION:
I’ve done some blogging during the time I’ve been an independent design and communications consultant. This is the same time that I gave birth, was on maternity leave and then decided to take this time to hang with my baby at home while I did some design work. I’ve kept the blogging mostly private, as it focused on chronicling my baby’s milestones, and me sorting out my views on motherhood (something I was new at) and societal issues concerning motherhood and feminism. Very loaded stuff (the latter).
Coming out of that, some four years later, my final analysis is that each woman has to decide for herself and her family what works and what will make them happy/allow them to survive—or something within that range. There are no “one-size-fits-all” rules or ways to do things. To me, it’s unsatisfying and boring, too, to argue with people about what’s best when there is no “best.” And now, after a blogging hiatus, and with a child who’s no longer a baby and me beyond those years where thoughts were dominated by guidebooks, discussions and decisions, mixed with post-pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep, I am feeling a movement toward again blogging about things that matter to me: still motherhood, but more within a frame of design and art and contemporary culture, in a visual and non confrontational way that I hope will be transcendent.
The deepest feelings about motherhood for me don’t deal with whether breast is best or I stayed home with my baby or not, or whether a child should be spanked or have time outs or no punishment at all. Although I do have opinions on all those matters. They are peripheral to the core feelings. And the core feelings are what I think most women (or, more women, at least) can share. This crazy, awesome love for our children.
I came across this image for a piece I read on Jezebel the other day that touched on the crazy, awesome love we have for babies, and included a graphic that solved the weird baby imagery problem.
By “weird baby imagery problem” I mean that, to me, it’s really hard to illustrate a baby without it looking either cartoony, too cutesy, or just plain scary. I’m not big on highly-technical representational art (can appreciate the skill, but it’s just not my thing) and these kind of images don’t distill down to enough of an essence, a lot of the time. They can often risk the viewer getting too hung up on the details of the image than the feeling of the image. In addition, photos may not always be anonymous enough for my taste/purposes, if left un-retouched. Again, too much thinking about the particular baby shown than the more abstract feelings the image is meant to evoke. All that said, I don’t know why it never dawned on me to consider the silhouette, just the shape, just a suggestion of the idea.
So, I tried some quickies of my own, using personal photos as a guide:
And it hit me that the silhouette, if given even more time to capture a feeling than I did in these quickly whipped up graphics, could be a really effective style of image to use in those layouts that call for human figure-based representation of ideas of mama and baby love.
And, using images with the contrast way up and details darkened, as in the one that opened the post, or the shadows of me and my child on a hike, below, is another way.
And, now I must sign off, because I am being called…