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Joy Christiansen Erb

SPE Member since 2000
Member Chapter: Midwest

Portrait of a Mother (2012-2013)

Portrait of a Mother reflects on personal and universal experiences of motherhood. As artist and mother, I record the private moments within the lives of my family and our domestic space. The images document both the struggles and triumphs of everyday life.

This series began with the birth of my first child Emmet in 2009 and has continued on to record the life of my daughter Elinor, who was born in 2012. My family narrative is revealed through these photographs. These quiet moments are familiar. They can be sweet, but also curious, seductive and dangerous at the same time.

Within this body of work, the lines are blurred between the documented and the constructed. Each image serves both to authenticate a reality as well as to construct a private drama. Collectively the images become evidence. They represent the wounds, marks and scars that reflect the past and the present. These stains are both what remains and what is left behind.

Blackberry stain

Emmet crying

Postpartum Hairloss

Evening light

Ceiling Leak



Holter Monitor

Elinor one day before birth

Elinor one month old

Elinor one year old


Emmet at 3


Urine Stain


Days after c-section

Emmet's painting



Mother and Child

Elinor's nail clippings

Emmet at 2

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