With her series Body Becoming, Leah Edelman-Brier (USA) confronts ideals of beauty while questioning the resilience of the body. Focusing on elements that draw our attention to corporeal decay and ill health, like excess weight, rotten teeth and eczema, Edelman-Brier accentuates the imperfections that come along with inhabiting a body, decade after decade. The images portray the bodies of a mother and a daughter, the photographer’s own mother and sister, in fact, intensifying the gap between youth and decrepitude.
Edelman-Brier dares to show the ugliness of a body, even to the point of disgust, but by integrating images of fruit into the series, she makes reference to the nature of all living things, which do not acquire in actuality states of ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but simply are. The photographer says she wants to express the daughter’s fears of what time has done to the mother: she fears the weight of flesh, the pull of gravity, the uncertainty of health, things that are set in flesh and blood. “The mixing notions of genetic lineage, the process of aging, and the lack of control presented by destiny, exacerbates an anxiety, which speaks to a profound fear of becoming the mother,” Edelman-Briar explains. “Working against such genetics is like waging a war on nature.”
In fact, the work is as much about Edelman-Brier’s fear as it is about her sister’s. According to Edelman-Brier, “It stemmed from my own fears and I used photography to explore my fears and turn them into something else”.