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Helen Betts | all galleries >> Rediscovering Home >> Rediscovering Home: Washington, D.C. >> 'She Who Tells a Story - Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World' > 'Mother, Daughter, Doll' 1/9
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'Mother, Daughter, Doll' 1/9

The first in the sequence portrays the mother with a light-colored headscarf that complements her plaid jacket; the heads of her daughter and her daughter’s doll are uncovered.

I’m going to post these images pretty quickly, with a brief note about each picture from the catalogue. There are nine photographs in total in this series, and I can’t recommend strongly enough to anybody who is interested in this subject to look at all nine, and in order. The changes in dress and demeanor are fascinating, and frightening.


Titled “Mother, Daughter, Doll" (2010), this was a series included in the “She Who Tells a Story” photography exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It particularly interested me after having spent three years in Saudi Arabia, where women (including me to a less drastic extent) are required to cover their bodies, hair and faces. I have a feeling this same kind of progression might have taken place there as well as in Yemen, where the photographer, Boushra Almutawakel, was born and lives (as well as in Paris).

According to the information accompanying the photographs: “Almutawakel uses the veil to challenge social trends and explore the complexities of public appearance. Religious extremism, increasingly pervasive in her native Yemen, calls for the public concealment of women’s, and even girls’, bodies. Rather than denounce the headscarf (hijab), these staged portraits visually protest the covering of young women and the trend towards black, particularly the more extensive niqab. The fading smiles of mother and daughter correspond to the disappearance of their colorful clothing from one picture to the next. The series ends with an image of an empty pedestal draped in black fabric – mother, daughter and doll are completely eliminated, a statement about the erasure of the individual through dress.”

Nikon D810 ,Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
1/100s f/5.6 at 52.0mm iso5000 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
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carol j. phipps21-Aug-2016 13:59
Beautiful, exquisite detail. Thanks for sharing the story. V
Milan Vogrin04-Aug-2016 13:46
Very nice!