NEW YORK, NY.- Frozen in Time
by American fine art photographer Sarah C. Butler (Glitterati, January 2017) is an exquisite and deeply personal photographic narrative chronicling the turbulent relationship between Butler and her mother set in the serene surroundings of her mother's beautiful but dilapidated Maine home that had been abandoned for 25 years when she purchased it. At once stunning and heart-wrenching, Butler's luminous photographs tell a poignant story of coming to terms with her mother in a way that is both intimate and universally relatable.
Drawn to reconnect with her mother after a long estrangement, Butler found that taking photographs of the partially restored Maine farmhouse where the older woman chose to live ultimately gave her the perspective to understand and respect her mother's choices. The images Butler made there are striking and evocative. A pair of little girls' dresses that once belonged to Butler and her sister, which her mother kept for decades; a corner of the beloved but fading house with its foundation jacked up on a pile of rocks; a partial glimpse of her mother, present yet unknowable -- these and others reveal a complex and compelling narrative.
Butler began photographing in 2009 when her mother's health had started to deteriorate and she was terrified she was about to die. She continued to take pictures until shortly before her mother's death in June 2015. In her moving epilogue in the book, she writes about her fears and feelings of anger towards her mother through her coming to terms and acceptance: "Six years ago, I thought I had stepped into a nightmare, that I had lost a mother I never really knew. I thought my job was to help her find her a way out of that terrible place. Instead, I learned that she was where she wanted to be. Through photographing her, I discovered it's beauty -- and ultimately, to my great surprise, I fell in love with the old house and with her."
Frozen in Time is a book about family, distance and reconciliation; the mysteries of the mother-daughter relationship; and, finally, the redemption to be found in acceptance. It is a visual tour de force that will mesmerize photography aficionados and students of family relations alike.
In her foreword, the distinguished photography critic and author Vicki Goldberg writes: "The story [these photographs] tell unrolls a psychological narrative and a highly unusual one at that, not about the resident of the house but about the way the photographs changed the photographer."
In her afterword, Alison Morley, Chair of the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Program at the International Center of Photography writes: "Great photography is an opening to the soul and the heart for everyone in the triangularity of the process --subject, photographer and viewer. We are moved by these images because Sarah awakens the cobwebs of our memory."
Sarah C. Butler is the author of A Portrait of a Maine Island (Glitterati, 2009.) She spends part of each year on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine, where she creates most of her work. She travels the rest of the year to find inspiration for her work. She attended Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland; Rockport College in Rockport, Maine; and Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She regularly exhibits her work in galleries throughout the northeastern US. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information about the artist visit: www.sarahcbutler.com
Vicki Goldberg is a photography critic and author based in New Hampshire, USA. She has written for The New York Times and Vanity Fair; her books include The Power of Photography: How Photographs Changed Our Lives; Light Matters (a selection of her essays); The White House: The President's Home in Photographs and History; and the biography Margaret Bourke-White. She has lectured in Belgium, England, France, China, Korea, Norway and Portugal as well as America. She lives in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
Alison Morley is the Chair of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography. Alison's photographs have been published in several books, including Backstory: Screenwriters of the Golden Age, edited by Patrick McGilligan. She has also previously held the position of Photo Editor for The New York Times, Elle, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She has lectured and led workshops in the US, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia, China, Hungary, Peru, the Philippines, and Uganda. She lives in New York, New York.