I was very happy to see that the New York Times recently featured the photographic work of Julie Blackmon, one of my personal favorites. For me, her work is as if an early Sally Mann mated with Stephen Shore. The Missouri-born and raised photographer is the oldest of nine children, and the mother of three, which is instrumental to her take on the world around her.
Julie Blackmon’s Homegrown Photographs
In her series, HOMEGROWN, Blackmon captures the poignant moments between chaos and everyday life. Embracing the inherently juxtaposed expectations of family life and the need for personal space, her work is both autobiographical and fictional.
In her photographs, she explores the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present as well as the struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality.
It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged. – Julie Blackmon
As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos. – Julie Blackmon
The following quotes about the photos are courtesy of Betsy Horan and The New York Times.
Laying Out, 2015.
“Laying out — one of those things we did before SPF 50,” Blackmon says. “Who’d have thought sunshine wasn’t good for you?”
Peggy’s Beauty Shop, 2015.
“One of the last beauty shops in America that’s still going strong — on the old Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri,” Blackmon says. “During this shoot, no one in there was less than 90, including Peggy.”
“Spraying your kid with bug spray is one of those modern-day parenting contradictions,” Blackmon says. “Protective, yet violent — because it’s poison.”
“There are three back-to-back holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and with the expectations of our children, culture and ourselves, mothers everywhere lose their mind a little.”
Flag Cake, 2015.
“Inspired by Jasper Johns — seeing his paintings for the first time reminded me of the flag cakes my mom made every Fourth of July and the backyard celebrations at our picnic table (because we didn’t belong to a country club).”
“One of those summer memories as a kid (before iPads), where it was too hot to go outside, and you were bored, trying to think of what to do next. The quiet moments in between the chaos.”
“Inspired by Slim Aarons’s pool photographs from Palm Springs. This is the shady Midwest version.”
New Chair, 2014.
“One of my sisters recently decided she needed to get rid of her antiques and go with a more modern look. So, out with the old and in with the new. In this case, Grandma’s recliner gets replaced with Amazon Prime’s faux Egg Chair.”
Waiting Room, 2016.
“‘Some Angels Have Fur Instead of Wings’ is what one of the posters in the vet’s office says.”
“Brushing out your hair after sleeping in braids. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s photograph from 1863 ‘It Won’t Come Smooth.’”
These photos and more can be found in her book HOMEGROWN.
About the photographer:
Julie Blackmon (born 1966) is a Missouri-based photographer who has amassed many honors since beginning her career just a few years ago. Her work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, and can be found in the collections of the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art in Oregon and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, among others.
A show of Blackmon’s work, “Down Time,” is on view through Sept. 3 at the Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, faheykleingallery.com.
For more information on Julie Blackmon’s work, including pricing and availability, check here for a list of galleries representing her.
All images courtesy of and © Julie Blackmon