In her latest body of work author and photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, set out to explore what modern motherhood means in the 21st century. Turning her lens on 70 iconic families of mothers and children from such celebrated names as Delfina Figueras, Carolina Herrera, Lauren Santo Domingo, Elizabeth Chambers Hammer and Patti Hansen, Swanson Frank’s stunning portraits capture the emotional bonds and beauty that frame the primal relationship of a mother and her child. Ahead of tomorrow night’s launch event with Cle de Peau Beaute, who created each of the timeless beauty looks featured in the book, Swanson Frank answered a few of our most pressing questions relating to her work, her beauty routine, and more.
Bergdorf Goodman: What inspired you to create “Mother & Child”?
Claiborne Swanson Frank: Motherhood transformed my world. In many ways, I was a child until I had my own children. My small reality of life and my own needs exploded with the birth of my first son. I suddenly felt a responsibility and purpose I had never known before. With my new insight, I felt inspired to tell a modern story of motherhood, to document and honor this profound human experience. My hope was to take portraits of mothers and their children that captured love and joy, to try to stop time in a series of portraits – and show how this experience connects us all.
BG: Was there a particular shoot in the book that stood out to you as most memorable?
CSF: Shooting the Bush Family in Maine was magical. I felt so honored to document the four generations of these beautiful women and to capture the love they shared for each other.
BG: Name five mother/child duos past or present that you would love to invite to a dinner party.
– Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber
– Isabella Rosellini and Elettra Weidmann Rosellini
– Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross
– Patty Hansen and Alexandra & Theodora Richards
– The Bush Family
BG: What is the most rewarding thing and the most challenging thing about being a mom?
CSF: I think the greatest gift my children have shared with me is their LOVE. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that they have so much unconditional love for me and I for them. I never knew being a mom would be as much fun as it is and at the same time I had no idea how hard parenting can be. No one can teach you how to be a parent you have to learn each day and find your own truth as to how you want to raise your children. Being a parent forces you to look at your life and the morals and values you want to install in your children. Parenting has forced me to evolve as a human being and being a mother has made me a better person.
BG: What is your beauty/skincare routine and how has it changed since becoming a mom?
CSF: I have far less time to think about myself or time to devote to my beauty routine. I’ve changed my routine to be more focused on anti-aging. I love Cle de Peau Beaute products – they deliver visible results. My favorite is La Crème, which I use every night. The Intensive Brightening Mask, Le Serum and The Lip Serum are a few of my other go-to products.