Sophie Masson

For Safekeeping

For Safekeeping is a photographic exploration of the relationships between myself, my mother and my grandmother through our interactions with each other and inherited heirloom objects. In preserving objects like my great grandmother’s housecoat and recipes, my family has maintained a connection to hegemonic femininity alongside our own shifting modern values. In this series I am contextualizing objects relating to traditional ideas about motherhood over multiple generations. These objects represent conventions about womanhood, but they also come to represent the people who used them. Motherhood evolves generationally, yet the objects we choose to preserve in order to represent it often remain stuck in tradition. We keep these objects not out of nostalgia for an oppressive past, but because they develop rich personal meanings among the women who inherit them. They become symbols for the kind of love and compassion that was passed on which we want to pass to other people, whether that is through traditional methods of motherhood or not. These matrilineal objects become so numerous to us after a loved one has passed on partly because of how easily they are accepted into the household. While carrying the weight of time and energy by a loved one, they outwardly seem simply pretty or practical. Preserving these objects becomes a way for us to preserve the time and energy left behind for us. These images create a space for my family and I to directly confront these objects and why we choose to value them.