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Photographer Emer Gillespie’s Beautiful Collaboration with Her Daughter with Down Syndrome

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Picture You, Picture Me is Irish born, UK-based photographer Emer Gillespie‘s collaborative project with her 11-year-old daughter Laoisha, who has Down syndrome. An ongoing project since 2008, Gillespie says it emerged while photographing Laoisha as part of another series, Two Homes, that explores her daughter’s experience living between two family homes. Laoisha became increasingly curious about picture taking, deciding she wanted to stand on the other side of the camera, eventually taking more and more control of it and her new subject—her mother.

Since then, the two have been crafting a poignant, intimate exchange between mother and daughter, the two of them taking turns photographing each other, and Laoisha conceptualizing many of the shots herself—the photos of the two of them jumping on the bed and of them braiding each other’s hair were her ideas, for example. Side by side, the photos are remarkably unified, an artistic detail and style we’d like to think is bonded in blood.

The project has been an invaluable one. Laoisha has developed her own creative voice and visual language over the years, learning to express herself and explore her autonomy. Gillespie says the collaboration is more about the experience and less about the photos—and this genuineness of spending time together we can feel, coming through in inspired diptychs that are loving, thoughtful, and exploratory in their look at this special mother/daughter relationship and photographer/subject role reversal.

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

Emer Gillespie

  • Bud Simpson

    I would have hoped the title of this post could have been:

    “Photographer Emer Gillespie’s beautiful collaboration with her daughter.”

    The project stands alone, you don’t have to sell it.