Women Crush Wednesday: Emily Wiethorn
Born in 1991, Emily Wiethorn is now a MFA candidate in Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before the MFA program, Wiethorn earned her BFA in photography from Northern Kentucky University. Displaying her work in numerous galleries as well as multiple publications, Wiethorn is clearly a successful photographer exploring feminine identity, gender and her own self-identity in her work.
Interview by: Thomas Battistelli
1. After reading about your series, you explain a sense of an uneasy relationship with your mother at times. How did your mother react at first to the idea of this photography series when you approached her with it?
At first, when I began this series it was an investigation into how my mother raised me and my identity within femininity and how she contributed to that identitiy. As I kept working with her, the series began focusing on our relationship and the history we have within our family between her and I, and her and her mother as well. She is generally apprehensive when I make portraits of her, but the more time I spend with this work the more collaborative it has become. We discuss a lot of the themes within this work and try to find a way that both of us can be happy with the topics discussed. All in all, she puts a lot of trust and faith in me with this work. Our history is complicated, but we’re in a really good place now and I consider her my lifeline, my best friend.
2. What moments were you looking for? Did you constantly have your camera with you at all times or did you have specific planned times to shoot?
It has been a mixture of both. I haven’t been able to work on this project full time because I currently live in a different state than my mother. So whenever I do see her I try to have my camera with me at all times so I’m able to catch the light wherever we are. There are certain portraits that I have had in mind and plan them out, but usually they end up changing significantly when her and I begin shooting.
3. What did you learn most about yourself from creating this project?
I learned, and am learning, so much about the relationship that I have with my mother and how much I cherish it. Her and I are very different people, but making this work has highlighted how the basic relationship between mother and daughter is both vulnerable and resilient. Seeing a lot of myself in the portraits I make with her has showed me how much of my identity is wrapped up in her and I’s relationship.
1. How would you describe your creative process in one word?
2. If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
“The Female Gaze: How Your Mother Sees You”
3. What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
Hands down, Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay. All of her books are wonderful, but this one really spoke to me.
4. What is the most played song in your iTunes library?
Seashore by The Regrettes
5. How do you take your coffee?
I am actually not a coffee drinker, but I can’t live without a glass of orange juice in the morning.