Birth and breastfeeding are an invitation to enter into another domain of time. Or more accurately, to be in time, to be grounded in the cycle of life. The other day, I went for a walk and I came across a rabbit. He crossed my path, in not much of a hurry. I followed it, until I saw him hopping into his burrow. It reminded of Alice in Wonderland, and how she saw the rabbit, followed it, fell into the rabbit hole and entered a new dimension. She accepted the invitation. Motherhood at times felt like falling into a hole where there are different rules and things flow differently, and things that made sense before are not useful anymore. One of those things is clinging onto clock time.
The way we live our lives today in industrialised countries is ruled by mechanised time. And clock time, industrial time, or historical time, as it has been called, is linear and progressive. We are immersed and socialised into clock time. It is the prevalent mode of experiencing and narrating time. It is so obvious and naturalised that we don’t even question it: time is something that has a beginning, middle and end. It is structured in our language and in our narratives.Read more
Lisa Creagh / Holding Time
Interviewed by Eva Clifford, from the British Journal of Photography
With your background in art, how did you first get into photography?
Photography was always at the heart of my practice, even when I was painting. I would take pictures and collect them in my fridge. Then send a bunch of them off to a postal service for printing. I’d get these prints back in the post with two mini-prints attached.
I loved the results I got from these Fuji labs: such rich greens and reds. I would wait until I had maybe ten packs and then sit on my floor amongst a jumble of pictures and start putting them together randomly. I was very impressed by the Surrealist idea of chance collisions: putting two seemingly unrelated images together to create something like a Gestalt meaning: unplanned and unpredictable. I continued to work with this analogue collage technique for many years and recently I added some of these to my calling them Cut and Paste and Juxtapositions. They are really just sketchbook images but as this technique is being revived with the loss of film processes, many young students are getting interested in this intuitive way of working.Read more
Lisa Creagh / Holding Time
Interviewed by Christiane Monarchi, founding editor of online magazine Photomonitor
This month Lisa Creagh will present her newest project ‘Holding Time’ at Fabrica, Brighton, as a multi-screen installation featuring animation, stills and video. Using material created over the past three years of breastfeeding mothers, this installation will test a working method of showing stop motion portraits alongside an abstract ‘time map’ based on Cosmatesque designs.
Creagh’s work sets out to remove the barriers to breastfeeding, whilst positively promoting this role in society by providing positive images of mother and child relationships, seeking to re-contextualise motherhood in general and breastfeeding in particular as an active, rather than passive activity, aligning mother and child with an older, more universal time system. Below, Christiane Monarchi asked Creagh more about the genesis of the ideas behind this project.Read more
Breastfeeding is not the norm in the UK, and breastfeeding in public can be especially daunting to a new mother. The anxiety that many women face shows that. In the last Infant Feeding Survey, 45% of mothers said they felt uncomfortable feeding in front of others, and most acutely so in public spaces*. But considering that being out and about is our right, and part of women’s daily needs and practice, this makes it a big deal. If breastfeeding cannot be folded easily within women’s daily lives, then it is likely that it is a practice that will either not be taken up, or be carried out for very long by the majority of women, which is what we are seeing today.Read more
Connecting with others, sharing stories, finding a role model is crucial to breastfeeding. Because breastfeeding is in crisis. Because it is highly idealised, but devalued in practice. And that can make you feel lost, lonely and unsupported. I felt like that. But myths, images and stories helped. They helped because they made me feel accompanied, made me feel valued and understood, gave me perspective, and also other ways to see myself and what I was doing. They made me feel part of something bigger....Read more
The arguments for breastfeeding in terms of health are already won, but breastfeeding statistics remain impossibly low in the UK. How can this be? Because the barriers to breastfeeding are cultural, not medical but the majority of information about breastfeeding comes from the medical community. This viewpoint says that women should breastfeed, without acknowledging the personal and emotional struggles involved in doing so.Read more