Julia Katharina Keil Photographer

Days with my mother


I started this on-going project many years ago when I began photographing my mother, Elisabeth. My mother has always been one of the most expressive and naturally stylish people I know. In her retirement however and since she and my father moved back to Germany after a life abroad, she has stopped wearing the many pieces she has in her closet saying she has “no occasion to wear them” and “Niemand sieht mich mehr an” - Nobody looks at me anymore.

I decided that every time I’d visit my parents, I would photograph my mother both in her everyday and in moments where we go through her closet together and pick out clothing laced in memory and feeling which I would photograph her in. In those days of dressing up my mother and placing her in front of my lens, a new energy would come forth. It's as if each time a veil lifts revealing a lucidity and presence as her self-worth momentarily heals. 

At first, I sought out to bring new life into clothes long buried in the depth of her closet but quickly I began to realise that the process brought a focus and calm to my mother’s increasingly foggy mind and nervous disposition. 

This project is explorative and continues to reveal itself with time, as aspects of my mother reveal themselves along with it. Together we explore my now 77 year old mother, memory and our changing relationship through documentation, play and performance. 

Using Format