Ruth Rosengarten »

Mama, 2012

I found it so hard to clear up my mother’s things after she died. Bundling them away felt like bundling her away. And seeing her life reduced to a few meagre possessions was heartbreaking, and made me feel like I hadn’t been a good enough daughter, though I knew that in life, she wanted to exercise control over what she did and didn’t own. Photographing these items quickly and with no concern for artfulness was like taking notes so as not to forget, but also to give her credit in the diminished existence she had in the last years of her life. You see here her sense of order, and how she liked to tidy things. Smoking was the great pleasure. For me, the photographs were a way of not throwing her things away too quickly, or throwing her away at all.