Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communication and Arts


Faculty of Education And Arts

First Advisor

Dr Panizza Allmark


This creative inquiry is grounded in my maternal experiences and situated within a feminist approach to photography that develops a discussion of maternal passion and acknowledges the conflicting dynamics of the maternal relationship. The research includes a book of photographs of my children, Georgia and Henry, titled Uncertain surrenders, and a written component explicating the theoretical imperatives that motivated the project. I suggest that the coexistence of beauty and menace within the photographic portraits exquisitely represents the complexity of maternal passion. Julia Kristeva (2005) says, “we lack a reflection on maternal passion” in Western culture because it is an ambiguous passion composed of negative and positive aspects that are difficult to understand. I propose that by accommodating the uncertainties arising from the ambiguities of maternal passion in the photographic portrait, it is possible to strengthen mutual recognition between mother and child. These photographs are intimate collaborations between my children, Georgia and Henry, and myself that represent our mutual connection. The climate of fear that surrounds images of children in contemporary culture has introduced restrictive practices and protocols for maternal photographers and threatens to limit the production of images that represent the complexity of the maternal relationship. In this research I acknowledge the ‘mother photographer’ to broaden the scope of female subjectivity, increase the status of motherhood and to agitate conventional restrictive notions of maternity that persist in the twenty–first century.


Chapter 2 removed due to copyright limitations.