If you are a human being (if you're reading this then chances are good that you are) you have something in common with every other Homo sapien on the planet. No matter your country of origin, religion, or socio-economic status, you have a mother. Nearly 50 years ago, the now 83-year-old photographer Ken Heyman took a series of touching images documenting the bond between mothers and their children. The beautiful black-and-white images were shot for the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, Family in 1965. Many were stored in boxes and forgotten until Heyman received a call from his former agent several months ago asking him to claim a number of his old belongings. Among the treasures was a container labeled "Mothers" holding slides and prints of moments Heyman captured of mothers and children in over 60 countries.
A selection of the photographs were featured in Family, a work co-authored with world-renowned anthropologist, Margaret Mead in an effort to express the relationships between mother and child. Heyman first met Mead during college while he was a student in one of her classes at Columbia. For a term assignment, he submitted a photographic essay that piqued the professor’s interest, and after his graduation in 1956, Meade invited him to accompany her to Bali. The images he captured there were featured in their collaboration as well as two major exhibitions. The book later became one of the ten best selling photography books of the era and Mead and Heyman maintained a fruitful partnership for over twenty years.
The attention surrounding Heyman’s unearthed images speaks not only to his great talent as a photographer but to the poignant, timeless appeal of his subject. The warmth, affection, and connection between each figure brings forth feelings of tenderness and devotion associated with motherhood. The viewer is reminded of their own early days, a longing for a safe and caring environment, and the days of when their children were young.
By featuring families from a multitude of backgrounds and ethnicities, Heyman celebrates the everyday moments that are so often taken for granted. The almost invisible actions of millions of mothers across the globe are endowed a reverence by Heyman, an artist who has been featured in Life Magazine, the Museum of Modern Art and commissioned by the US Information Agency.
Both family photos and fine art, the series is a timeless account of one of the most familiar and cherished relationships in human nature.
Images © Ken Heyman
via The Daily Mail