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June 22 - September 18, 2022

Mary McCartney’s “Moment of Affection” exhibition shows family photos

Last updated on November 25, 2022


  • Location: Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France


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Mary McCartney organized her first solo photography exhibition in France during the summer of 2022. The exhibition presented more than twenty of her photographs capturing moments of intimacy. Some of those photographs showed family members, including her father Paul, mother Linda and sister Stella.

From Château La Coste Aix-en-Provence (chateau-la-coste.com):

Château La Coste presents the first exhibition in France of Mary McCartney’s work. “Moment of Affection” traces thirty years of the British photographer’s career, from her beginnings to the present day, with more than twenty works from her personal archives.

Born in London in 1969, Mary McCartney has long dedicated her photographic work to portraiture, a practice in which she places her relationship with her model at the heart of the creative process.

The exhibition is inspired by a recurring theme in McCartney’s work: capturing rare and spontaneous moments of intimacy. Whether tender portraits of his family, photos driven by intense emotion, or poignant shots gleaned from nature, McCartney’s photographs share an immediacy and universality of great evocative power. Through fundamental themes such as love, desire and mourning, they evoke emotions and memories in the viewer.

From Facebook – Dernière semaine pour admirer les expositions de Mary McCartney et d’Idris Khan : Mary McCartney – Moment of Affection – Jusqu’au 18 septembre – Galerie Bastide

“I’ve always looked at things weirdly; I would just be wandering around, seeing things, and composing them as pictures in my mind. I don’t know if that’s because my mother was a photographer but for as long as I can remember I would see things and think about them as a photograph, even if I didn’t have a camera with me.

“Growing up, I lived in London and we’d go around to photography galleries to see work by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Lee Miller, Eve Arnold, Garry Winogrand, and Diane Arbus, classic photographers who caught my imagination with real moments. Then I moved towards portrait photography, immersing myself in the world of the corps de ballet dancers or Parisian nudes. I’m invited into people’s personal spaces to collaborate with them and there’s a lot of trust – an intimacy working together in front of the camera and communicating without necessarily having to say anything.

“That became something that gave me real satisfaction, and the circle is complete when I exhibit the pictures because I’m very aware of the viewer and their reaction. When I’m photographing I have the viewer in mind, and I imagine what they’re going to feel about the piece once it’s shown. I can tell you the story of how this photograph came about, but that almost doesn’t matter. The viewer will have an impression of something that may be a captured memory of their past or makes them think of a story behind it, and that completes the process.

“When I’m looking at a photograph, I fill in all those gaps and that’s what I’m aiming for the viewer to do. For me, photography is so powerful because it’s graphic. There’s a picture of a woman and a man’s feet – you can feel a tactile quality and tell there’s something else going on. Even though it looks quite simple, it evokes an emotion, a ‘moment of affection.’ It’s quite poignant.

“I come across moments like Family Circle, Sussex. We were visiting my dad for the weekend and I had just had my first child. I walked in and they were asleep on the sofa. I find it quite unusual because family photos are usually like, ‘Come on everyone – smile!’ But this is a very open and honest moment between grandfather and grandson, one of complete trust and comfort.

“Going back to the beginning of my archive to the present day reminds me that the same themes would keep coming back to me. I felt inspired to do more, to get out, explore, and connect with people at this time when we are coming out of the world that we’ve been living in. It’s great to be sharing my work again after such a long time. It feels like coming out of hibernation.”

Mary McCartney – From AnOther (anothermag.com), June 21, 2022

Well obviously I’m biased because Mary is probably my closest friend and the person I’ve known the longest my whole life and a cherished sibling, but I think her work is truly art photography.

In my career and my life I have experienced so many different types of photography and have such admiration for the history of the art form, obviously having a mother who I think lead as one of the first and foremost female photographers, but when it comes to Mary’s work, gender is not of interest, it’s the work and its true precision that counts. Her eye for capturing a moment has so many different perspectives, there’s so much soul in her work. So much joy. Technically she is exceptional, which is no small accomplishment not to be forgotten in talking about her work. She shares what I think my mums biggest asset was in her work in that she sees through the lens something that others may not think to capture. And when I experience her work, I feel that I have held a moment in time and in history, and it’s been captured forever.

There is a joy in her work, there is a vitality in her work, there is a love of life and a love of nature. She has captured so many moments and many of the pieces and the collection here at Château La Coste reference back such important moments in my life I feel so honoured to be featured in the exhibition. It’s family, it’s friends. I think its hard for me to say which my favourite is because I’m too close to the work probably, but I have a huge admiration and respect for the horses kissing, because as a horse rider I know that that moment is so fragile and so precious when 2 horses noses come together that it’s a fraction of a second before they usually disperse or engage in something more aggressive, it’s a moment that is so fragile and precious and difficult to capture. I can’t believe that she managed to do that, and in the symmetry of the work and the way in which she captured it … it is full of a kind of gentle understanding off nature and horses, but also she has such beautiful precision in the heart that you see created in this amazing sort of balance between these 2 horses that almost makes it look like they are mirrored or twins.

I’m obviously very emotional about the piece of me and my mother because it just brings back my memories of her and her lying on her side of the bed in the countryside house where we grew up, and the many moments I laid my head on her chest and she wrapped her arms around me with unconditional love, so you know I love that photograph but that’s probably more emotional, and I love the one of mum holding the frog as you enter the exhibition because it’s kind of this grotesque and extraordinary beauty all at the same time, there’s a contrast in that work, and the colouration is spectacular in the film, its very sort of extant in that respect. And then I love the shoes which is me and William Eggleston so I couldn’t answer! I love it all, I’m so proud of her and I think she’s the best photographer on earth today!

Stella McCartney – From MOMENT 0F AFFECTION (marymccartney.com)

From Mary McCartney (@marymccartney) • Instagram photos and videos – Happy to announce my upcoming exhibition at Château La Coste (France) this Summer x Mary

‘It’s a summer’s day, back from a horse ride – I can tell by what Dad is wearing. I am visiting with my newborn first baby. Dad comes into the living room of the home I have grown up in. He lays down with his grandchild and they both fall asleep together. Both uninhibited, a feeling of trust and safely compels me to take this photo. In the low light, so as not to disturb’

Mary McCartney – From The Guardian, June 28, 2022

From Mary McCartney: Moment of Affection | AnOther (anothermag.com) – Mother and Sister

‘Back at home in Sussex, visiting the house I had grown up in. My sister and I sitting in bed with Mum one morning. Mum had such natural beauty, her elegant hands, her blonde hair, her soft skin. She cuddles Stella up in her arms and kisses the top of her head with such love. Both holding on to this moment. That will always exist’

Mary McCartney – From The Guardian, June 28, 2022
Paul McCartney writing

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