“Seen Not Heard” by Heather Evans Smith

January 09, 2017

Heather Evans Smith is conceptual and fine art photographer living and working Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her monograph, Seen Not Heard, published in 2016 by Flash Powder Projects, presents a conversation around the relationship between a mother and a daughter.

The carefully staged photographs manage to reach the whimsical, naivety of childhood, but still describe the extreme challenges faced by a mother responsible for young feminine life. These scenarios reveal the necessity of a mother to her daughters life, and the beautiful struggle that comes with separate generations receiving each other.

Heather states, “for the past few years I have been creating images to express the emotions of motherhood. My daughter has never been included in those images. But as she has grown from a baby into a force of nature all her own, I was drawn to pull her into my world of conceptual photography and explore our relationship during a time when emotions of love, stress and confusion are high.

Seen Not Heard takes its title from the Old English adage ‘To Be Seen and Not Heard’, a term often thrown about in reference to the desired behavior of children. These images are silent, but they create a voluble visual narrative on the relationship between parent and child. They explore the cycles that are passed down through generations and the tension between keeping to what is known and forging a newer, and perhaps stronger, path. As strong as the close, forever bond between mother and daughter is, there also exists a distance inherent between two different individuals.” 

Follow more of Heather Evans Smith’s work on Twitter and Instagram.

Molly Jacobs