The study of self-disclosure is greatly written about by Sidney M Jourard. He maintains people choose concealment (showing oneself as an enigma rather than allowing others to know one’s true self) rather than openness. He contends concealment leads to sickness, misunderstanding and alienation from self. Social media has given rise to simplified, one-dimensional versions of life, leading to Facebook envy, in which we compare our lives to the better looking version of others.’

I am an artist and a mother, and began this body of work with two goals: 1) to question the visual portrayal of motherhood, and 2) to engage in an open exploration of the complexities of motherhood. I created an online forum through a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Each day of 2010 I made, edited and uploaded a photograph for discussion to the website.

Motherhood is a role that crosses cultural, social and economic boundaries, yet is often portrayed simply as an archetype or stereotype. The images in this body of work approach motherhood through ideas, feelings, stereotypes and documentation. Along the way they deal with the emotional and physical struggle between living a creative life and having children. The vulnerability that comes from using my own life and family as a backdrop is essential to making photographs that become less about the individual experience and more about the universal questions of role, relationship and identity. By committing to a rigid, demanding photographic schedule, I mimic the rigid, demanding schedule of motherhood, allowing me to document a year of complex thoughts, ideas and feelings.

Black and white photography evokes nostalgia, romanticism and idealization. However, the subject in many of my photographs is none of these. The tension this creates mirrors the tension felt when I compare my life to the idealized one I desire.

Exhibition images range from 6”x9” to 20”x30” piezo inkjet prints.


Sarah Rust Sampedro is a fiscal year 2011 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.