Ties That Bind series, Chromogenic prints, 20"X20", 2003
I became interested in aprons as a formal and conceptual element as I pondered the meaning of the popular, non-functional aprons that were often worn for entertaining in the 1950s. The fabric choices were often sheer, sexy materials and both call attention to and provide coverage for the genitals. Are aprons domestic loincloths?
Aprons began to change from their utilitarian usages when Victorian house matrons started to embellish their aprons with lace and handwork to distinguish themselves from the servants. In post World War II America, Life magazine and Leave it to Beaver lured "Rosie the Riviter" back into the domestic sphere with the promise of an idealized family and home life. As a symbol of achieving the status of perfect housewife, the non-utilitarian “dressy” apron is worn with pride for entertaining in the home, emblematic of a nuclear family surrounded with new products that would ensure their happiness.
For the photographs of women wearing aprons, I choose women over 40, those most influenced by the 1950s media, and photographed them at work, expecting an interesting and slightly surreal juxtaposition of visuals. Recently, I came across a Maidenform brand bra ad from the 50s - the “I dreamed I was a...in my Maidenform bra” campaign; they seem to share the same visual sensibility.