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Mother Nature

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Photographer Sanne Rietveld injects a playful humour into the documentation of her lockdown experience, using nature to capture the dynamic between herself, her mother, and her grandmother.

Mother Nature is an inquiry into women's instinctual nature, our need to be in the presence of one another in times of difficulty and fear, and our dependence on the natural world for our sanity. Collaboratively making photographs during the first Covid-19 lockdown, my mother, grandmother and I record our experience of staying home, and inject play into documenting the domestic. I am always taken by how women like to dig in the earth, and my mother and grandmother have always kept a beautiful garden. They poke with blackened fingers into the soil and tuck roots into the earth like they once tucked me into bed.

During this global crisis our small garden became our Utopia, and nothing was more relished than the one daily walk. Picturing these walks, and our garden, I contemplate nature as representative of the woman's wild psyche. This work took great influence from Clarissa Pinkola Esté'sbook 'Women who Run with Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype' in which she explains that within every woman there is a powerful force filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing.

In our garden I watch my mother and grandmother give and take life, moving with the exhalations of the wild nature. Similarly to how a garden is susceptible to infestations and droughts, at present human beings face an invasion. However, despite such disasters, the garden is a reminder that regrowth is always possible, and that the world will heal. For the time being my mother, grandmother and I hold each other close and engage with each other and with our creativity through the making of these photographs.


Sanne Rietveld

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