Gail Albert Halaban
This Stage of Motherhood
Gail Albert Halaban photographs communities of mothers. Like an anthropologist, she portrays the private lives of these women as they journey from single life through motherhood. At first glance, they seem to have everything — education, elegance, wealth, and family. Yet for these women, such advantages are not without conflict. They must weigh having children with the desire to maintain an identity as it was prior to entering this stage of motherhood. Gail Albert Halaban's satiric yet compassionate images illuminate their struggle to balance their children's need for an emotionally available mother with their own inclination to hold onto the independence of youth.
Although the photographs in This Stage of Motherhood seem to be spontaneously captured, they are in fact intricate tableaux created by the artist within the homes of the women she photographs. This theatricality grants Gail Albert Halaban intimate access to the emotional lives of her subjects.
Gail Albert Halaban was born in 1970 in Washington, DC. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, and Yale University, from which she received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography. She has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and W. The work in this exhibition will be featured simultaneously in the Winter 2006 issue of Aperture.
The New Yorker
January 8, 2007
Halaban, a photographer whose previous work concerned groups of wealthy, social young women at their leisure, has followed similarly privileged women into motherhood. The results—big, boffo color pictures that look like Tina Barney crossed with Lauren Greenfield—are more emphatic, more satirical, and more complicated than before, perhaps because they reflect their subjects' ambivalence toward nagging new responsibilities. Halaban can be heavy-handed (one woman on a rattan chaise holds up a flash card for her son to read; "WANT," it says, pointedly), but she stages these images so deftly that you believe every one, even if you'd rather not.