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The Holding Place
Emma O’Brien

The Holding Place, Emma O'Brien

The Holding Place, Emma O'BrienThe Holding Place
Emma O’Brien

Designed by Ángel Luis González Fernández.


First Edition of 500
124 pages
260 x 320 mm
ISBN 9781999739430


While balancing unpaid emotional and domestic labour with full-time paid work, Emma O’Brien placed her photographic practice on hold. It was an indulgence she couldn’t afford; motherhood demanded this sacrifice. As her child grew, influenced by Matricentric Feminism, and working with a feminist concept of intersubjectivity, “how to care for another and one’s self”, she began carving the time to explore her role as a mother and artist. Finding the quiet moments between the intense days of working and mothering she began to photograph their everyday.

The Holding Place is a meditation on the physical, psychological, and political landscape of Motherhood. The small world they inhabit, the recurring daily routines, the scant time available, and the intimacy of the mother-child relationship all shape the work. In The Holding Place, the personal and political blur as the artist engages in a raw and honest dialogue, exploring the emotional complexities and challenges of motherhood.

About The Artist
Emma O’Brien is a graduate of The Griffith College BA in Photographic Media. Her photographic practice is concerned mainly with themes of family childhood and home, documenting the personal and the private, domestic landscapes, rural life, small towns and neighbourhoods.

About the Publisher
Founded in 2009, PhotoIreland was conceived as an organisation to stimulate a dialogue around Photography in Ireland by developing a varied array of initiatives and events with a strong participative approach.