"Trying to get a baby or a fussy toddler to sit still for a photograph can feel like a herculean task. Luckily, it only takes a second to get the shot. In the nineteenth century, however, it was a different story—particularly when it came to tintype portraits, which required a long exposure.
Photographer Laura Larson’s series, Hidden Mother, presents a survey of nineteenth-century tintype portraits in which the mother of the child was included in the photograph, but obscured.
In some instances, the mother would hold her child, with a cloth or props hiding her from the lens, or she would be painted over by the photographer after the image had been taken. In other examples, the mother is entirely absent from the frame, save for an arm, holding the child in place.
The results are both funny and slightly disturbing. The mother appears as an uncanny presence, Larson writes in a statement. Often, she is swathed in fabric, like a ghost.”
"I was seven years old when it happened. It was about 9 pm at night. We heard the neighbors screaming so we knew that the rebels were in the village. There were many people visiting in my house at the time, so all the men gathered in the main room. We had no guns, only knives. Soon the dog started barking, then we heard footsteps, and then we heard a knock on the door. They started calling for my father to come out. We didn’t answer, so they started shooting into the house. Everyone pushed against the door to try to keep it closed, but they knocked it down. My father saw that he couldn’t run, so he gave himself up. They took him away. Then they gathered all the men and boys, and marched us out of the back of the house. My brother tried to jump and climb up on the roof, but they saw him and shot him. I knew I had to try something different, so I waited until we were rounding a corner, and I jumped into a bush, and I kept crawling until I reached the other side, then I got up and ran. I ran all the way to the neighbor’s house, but they turned me away and locked the door. So I hid all night in the graveyard. The next day I returned to my house. They’d taken everything. They dumped my sick mother onto the floor and took her mattress. I found my father’s body in the barn. They’d cut off his arms and his legs.”