Christina Riley: Born
California-based photographer Christina Riley tackles painful subjects with unflinching authenticity and intimacy. Her 2014 book, Back to Me, hauntingly confronted her descent into mental illness and her latest body of work, Born, reveals a side of motherhood that is rarely shared, especially not in the syrupy social media posts we typically see from new mothers. With heartbreaking tenderness, she shows us that for her and many more women than most people realize, navigating the overwhelmingly unfamiliar post-partum period can be fraught with anxiety, loneliness, and guilt.
Christina Riley (b. 1984) uses photography to communicate the truth in her life and what surrounds it. Self-portraiture plays a big role in her work, but the use of landscape and environmental photography is just as important to record and convey her experiences. By photographing others, she further explores her place in the world and how she fits in. She is fascinated with poetic, narrative photography that leaves enough room for a viewer’s own interpretation of (and relation to) her work.
Christina was born in Ottawa, Canada and now lives in Seaside, California. She studied photography at college then went on to assist and shoot professionally. Personal work is now her focus. She has exhibited as part of group shows throughout the years.
Born is a photo series with an honest and intimate first hand view at the difficult transition of becoming a mother. When my daughter was born in 2013, I really struggled. The loss of self was overwhelming and my anxiety flourished as I grappled to find my way in my new life. I felt so alone, so lost. Born is a selection of 40 images edited and sequenced out of the hundreds I shot in the first year of motherhood. Together they capture my journey through displacement, loneliness, self-discovery and love.
As a photographer I’ve naturally gravitated towards, and found my voice documenting myself openly through mental illness, health and overall just my human experience. By obsessively photographing my life and communicating through photography, I’ve been able to understand and accept who I truly am and connect with people. – Christina Riley
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