These five highly personal documents chronicle Edith Maybin's intimate relationship with her daughter for over 12 years. Each 'Document' describes their relationship in stages, both beautiful and uncanny, using the act of photography as performance and metaphor to engage the viewer with narratives surrounding the mysteries of this relationship.

The Sweet Sixteen Document, 2017

In this most recent document, a continuation of a body of work started in 2005, Edith Maybin continues to investigate the relationship between daughter and mother this time using light and shadow as violent device of unlinking and catalyst to breakage of the formerly combined body (The Tenby, Conversion and Garden Documents) – visual themes of division are employed; the fold, seam, contrast, fluid as feminine symbol. Her daughter is now sixteen, both child and woman; their relationship young and mature. These images are created performing secret acts where the photograph serves as decoy and portal. 

The Girl Document, 2013

Edith Maybin explores the space between girl and woman, this time through the use of still life photography to illustrate the abstract changes between child and adult. Beautiful and troubling, these in-camera constructions engage the viewer with both lucid detail and incomplete dreams. Fold upon fold, a singular portal unveils a deceitful truth, double-minded (untrustworthy) like photography itself. Themes of sexuality, pain, maturation, independence and fear exist for both mother and daughter in this pivotal stage. Maybin’s references find a common language within her layered dialogue. Artifice confuses the real, much as in Dorothea Tanning’s figurative paintings, while visual elements from early 20th century surrealist film are suggested to form a rhetoric of transition, an awkward adolescence. These photographs for Maybin continue the journey from the place of departure within the final images of The Garden Document. The external is left behind for an interior realm, the surface penetrated in search of what is new.

The Garden Document, 2010

Edith Maybin continues her photographic work by taking her subject outside into a garden where she plays in golden hour light. Maybin presses out the limits of the interior confines of skin from corset to explosion. In a play of Eden, Maybin struggles out the story of individuality and independence; of mother and daughter, of skin and spirit and of Nature and artifice. In this series Maybin’s daughter is 9 years old and in combination with Maybin’s body is nearly believable as a whole person; the two are one in this once bucolic now chaotic verdant room. A summer’s day end acts as a character in this testimony of change and conversion as the story metamorphoses and her form disappears. This series is part three of an ongoing work which began in 2006.

The Conversion Document, 2008

In this body of work Edith Maybin investigates the threshold between consciousness and dreaming, an enigmatic place full of mystery and magic. Within her home Maybin constructs a stage, a fantastic platform, where over the cycle of a week she photographs her daughter sleeping. The innocence of childhood dress-up games are visited as Maybin enters the photograph wearing outfits chosen by her daughter the night before. A new being emerges as Maybin places her daughter’s head on her own body completing the question. Inspired by the presence of catastrophe and awe found in Caravaggio’s “The Conversion of Saint Paul” and Bernini’s “Ecstasy of St. Teresa” Maybin continues her study of the mother/daughter bond.

The Tenby Document, 2006

In these photographs Edith Maybin investigates the space between mother and daughter. She takes portraits in a home environment where she and her daughter enact secret stories together while wearing Marks and Spencer undergarments, a gesture towards Maybin’s own mother and an investigation into female rituals and sentimental inheritance. These secret stories they then replay until the camera captures the mother and daughter separately in the same position. This allows for digital reassembly and the final presentation of the two as one. Maybin digitally places her five-year-old daughter’s head on her own body; the photograph resolving the dichotomy of the relationship. In closing the gap between mother and daughter these images, whilst formal, subversively provide room for fantasy, identity reversal, and reveried escape. Inspired by Lady Clementina Hawarden’s photographic portraiture of her daughters in tableau contrasted with short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Maybin and daughter paradoxically elude the gaze by way of performance and imaginative abstraction into a place, inspired by Vermeer’s women; intangible.

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