With exposure times of half a minute, Victorian mothers wanting a portrait of their children had to disguise themselves as chairs, couches and curtains to hold them still. The results are often unintentionally funny. Many of the Women have made themselves more, rather than less, conspicuous. The effect is rather like children who believe that if they cover their eyes they become invisible.
|Hidden Father Cartoon - Harper's Bazaar, May 1888.|
These images of hidden mothers (and possibly fathers, although it’s hard to tell, of course), simultaneously absent and present, illustrate something that still resonates today. Disguised as armchairs, hiding behind pillars or crouching on the carpet, these ghostly figures remind us of the way that we all, regardless of age or circumstance, continue to be guided by that comforting, imprisoning maternal grasp.
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