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Tierney Gearon Photography

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Tierney Gearon

Tierney Gearon is an American photographer born in Atlanta, Georgia.  She had never study photography or any kind of formal training of art.  She became a model when she studies ballet in Utah. While she had a job of being a model, she started to photograph at the backstage of the fashion show in Europe and her children as her hobby.  She later on became a fashion photographer and begins the career of a photographer. At later on she became a commercial photographer and takes the kids with her on photo projects one after another.

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She had very little time for her personal works. People would define her as a documentary photographer for her personal work. Her only subjects are her children and her mother. She always tries to put more time on her personal work rather than her jobs and spend time with her family.

She married a French investment banker and became a person who looks for creature comfort.

She admitted, “Whatever I did, it was wrong, it wasn’t his fault. I married him because I was attracted to his strong family background. I thought he’d be strong to help me, but he has his own problems and socially it was a disaster. “(Ottoni) she wants to be the centre of the attention.  She likes to freaks people out and surprised people and get hyperactive.  Photography seems like to be a way to calm her down. Her mother suffered from mental illness for pretty much her adult life.  Tierney’s mother would do things that are randomly and unexpected. I think it has a big influence to her as a daughter and to her work.  “Tierney describes her pictures as a form of therapy – a means of healing herself.”(The Mother Project)  She also thinks it has no harms to anybody from her work (The Mother Project).

Pretty much almost all of her works are about portraits.  She takes a lot of famous celebrity portraits and commercial work for her job.  They are all really unique and beautiful in terms of color and compositions. Her personal works are mostly about her family and her friends. The first time she showed her photographs was in a group exhibition called “I Am a Camera” It is also the biggest controversial works from her. There are some images contain nude body of her children, which usually are the problems for people according to history. Nude picture of children always is a controversial issue.  People often objects and questions these kind photographs and it is always an issue. Polices even showed up in her show because some people think these pictures are pornographic.

One of her recent works called The Mother Project.  My first thoughts after I saw the movie are raw, naked and extremely private.  It shows everything between Tierney’s mother and her children in a very raw way.  It is a documentary movie about her life and the relationship between her mother, her children and herself. She claims that the documentary of her family is totally spontaneously and natural.  All the snapshots are never staged.  Tierney’s mother is mentally ill for her adult life which I think has a lot of influence to this film.  The relationship between her mother and her directly influence the relationship between Tierney and her two children.  It is hard for a single mother to work and take care of their children and mother by herself, and there are people think her works are pornographic.  The movie shows a lot of scenes that how she handle these things.  She is a person with a lot of pressure.  She also claims that taking pictures of them is almost a way of healing herself, and it has no harm to anybody. (The Mother project)  I almost feel the portraits of her children are almost the portraits of Tierney herself.  I think it also reconnects the bound between Tierney and her mother.  It makes up the maternal love she needed. I like the way Tierney Gearon’s family members express their inner feeling honest and openly. They share their emotions comfortably even with their little kids which attract me very much. Maybe because they growing in front of cameras make them seem to be honest and truthful about their emotions. They love each other undeniably. I think the film is very inspiring for those who have complexities in their family.

When I finished the movie I start to question myself if this is a right thing to do; to expose your family to the public unmask when one of them is mental ill and two of them are still kids. In the film the kids said “We just have fun and play, and she takes picture” (The Mother Project). They seem to be extremely comfortable with the whole thing at that time, but will they still be happy about this when they grow up? Her mother one time said in the movie that she feels that Tierney is exploiting her, but her mother still looks happy working with Tierney in the movie most of the time. Maybe they will regret what they did sometime in their life but not at that time.  Some of their movement strikes me a lot. For example when her daughter kicks her son with wooden shoes and her first notion is to grab the camera and take pictures of her son crying which made me feel a little bit surprising. That move sort of makes me question about what Tierney mother is said that she thinks Tierney is exploiting them. After watching the movie I felt that she still kind of control certain amount of the elements of the picture rather than all let it happens itself which kind of disappointing me. Watching this movie let me really understand the process how photographer create their works which doesn’t often get expose to the public and I think it is interesting and inspiring to me.

I like the style of her images a lot. The colors are very natural and calm.  They all very casual and doesn’t look posed like most of the fashion photographer. It is not too outrageous but still remains interesting. There is not too much human manipulation in the images and there is no artificial lighting which are the reasons I like about her.  It is a style that very easy for people to get close to and familiar with it. The pictures have a quality of playfulness. I found them from the gestures of the people and the objects around them. The snapshot style is always my favorite.  I don’t think pictures should be posed or manipulated. The snapshots can also be as good as other style.

To me I think the naked pictures of her children are not pornographic. There is nothing wrong with the pictures.  I don’t think any parents will let their children become pornographic, and post them public. It does not have any motive of indecent. I think they are appropriate for everybody, only the person with perverted mind would see them obscene. Only the pedophiles will find them pornographic.

When I looked at her pictures I can see some complexity in her life. The photo are done in a manner of casual but still leave questions and uncertainty elements to the viewer, which is the reasons I like them. The uncertainty of the image makes me keep looking back at them.  I almost can fit differently story to the pictures when I look at them again. The characteristic of immediate reality is what I like about photograph.

Seeing most of the art of Tierney Gearon, it can be said that such widely renowned international model turned artist of photographer is seen to have a distinct life and undertakings, one that is challenged and filled with diverse occurrence of difficulties as well as hardships in which she has to deal with and remain composed to be able to cope with it. Thus, through her previous and present works of art, it is seen evident that the stance of her family in her life and in the progress of her career as an artist serves as the primary source of ideas and creativities for her wherein she often situated her inspirations and the passion to come up with a great piece in her family, through her mother who is suffering from mental illness and from his children where she finds and represents her own profound picture of innocence as well as happiness.

            Moreover, regaining instant fame through shifting a career in international modeling to a artist photographer, it is seen that sudden prominence in the life of Tierney Gearon is one of the most significant changes in her life that have affected her in a more personal level wherein in most of her art works that she have done and publicize, there are different sources and types of criticisms that are seen to be often associated with those so-called masterpieces. In a sense, through the fame that she gains for being one of the most controversial photographers that is seen to often receive diverse set of criticisms pertaining directly to most f her works, Tierney Gearon is seen to be a picture of a well-determined and a dedicated artist of photography wherein she has stayed with the art which she believes and is passionate about despite the numerous criticisms that she has received especially those which are associated with most of the art works that she has done.

Likewise, it can also be stated that being an artist and a controversial photographer, that have brought her into immediate fame, the life of Tierney Gearon has never been the same after all the achievements and issues where her private life and the story of her family, more especially with the kind of relationship she has with her mother, are seen to have been publicized through her photography and as one of the primary sources of her art.

            Nonetheless, through the fame that Tierney Gearon has obtained from being an artist and as one of the controversial photographers, she is able to render the people, more especially those who are more inclined into art, a one-of-a-kind work of art with profound sources and origin of notions as well as artistic inspirations, which Tierney Gearon has obtained mostly in the presence of her family. Thus, through this personal transformation from modeling to photography, and through the fame in which she has gained from being a model-turned-artist, Tierney Gearon is seen to have made quality use of the attention and spot light in depicting and transmitting the kind of art that she loves to do and her profound thoughts as well as her interpretation about photography.

            On the other hand, it is seen evident that the profound notion and elucidation of Tierney Gearon with regard to rendering his thoughts and standpoints in her photography is one of the foremost reasons that have made her become one of the widely renowned controversial photographers. As seen palpable in most of her works, the kind of photographs and work of arts that she has, which normally depicts naked human bodies, is specifically attributed to exposing the bare naked bodies of children. This interpretation of art has indeed brought her in to numerous controversies.

In fact in one of her photography displays wherein she features two young boys named Emilee and Michael at the age of 6 and 4 facing the cameras without any clothes has initiated debates from different positions and has received numerous condemnations that have brought Tierney Gearon into a greater degree of controversy together with her photographs of two young naked boys posing in the camera (Longworth). Likewise, through the release of one of her latest films entitled “The Mother Project,” Tierney Gearon, as the brain of the masterpiece and the main actor responsible for the flow of the story as well as with the entire visual presentation, she has once again received and been flooded with different criticisms that have brought her to further controversy in the history of her career (Longworth). As such, the over all outcome of the movie has established the thought that Tierney Gearon, as an artist, is manipulative and exploitative wherein she lets her children be depicted in the camera half naked or even without clothing (Longworth).

In addition to this, the presence or the representation for her mother, who is suffering from mental illness, in the film has also served as a source of condemnation about Tierney Gearon and her art works. In most of the comments that have been said, Gearon has been exploitative of her mother, more especially with her mental condition, which is revealed in the film together with how she treats her mother. Despite the illness she has, it still seems that such mental condition is not good enough to resolve their differences. Thus, the people, more especially those who are gender and health conservatives, believes that children or the innocent ones should not be portrayed or used in the movie in an exploitative way as what Gearon did. Likewise, elderly with health problems should be thoroughly represented in a film story in order to protect his or her from any social scrutiny and maintain its privacy of his or her condition.

Nonetheless, it can be said that through the depiction of her private life in her arts that is based on her personal beliefs about artistic interpretation, Tierney Gearon has been exposed and has involved herself through numerous cases of controversies. Thus, by means of using the naked children and elderly with health problems in depicting the reality and virtue of life, Gearon has become one of the most controversial photographers and artists that have received and has been through numerous disagreements in her career.

In a sense, the majority of the arts and the photographs of Tierney Gearon have garnered wide range of popularity and appeal to the people is due to the profound interpretation of creative thinking and artistic standpoint which Gearon has and employs wherein most of her works does not fit the conservative tastes of the people with regard to the use of children in depicting innocence and purity of a young soul. Thus, for the conservatives, seeing these children naked posing in the camera is neither a good idea nor a brilliant interpretation of art but rather is solely exploitative wherein these young ones are seen to be a victim who can not stand for their right. For most of the criticisms, which Tierney Gearon has received, the people who usually render the thought that Gearon, as an artist, does not know anything about art wherein she is just one of the mothers who are just taking snapshots of her own family struggles and uses these to showcase art to the people.

However, despite these largely established criticisms and condemnation about Tierney Gearon and her works, there are still numerous people who believes in her and appreciates her profound way of understanding photography as an art. Thus, from working from commercials to full artist of photography, Tierney Gearon has also established her reputation as a soldier of art that only seeks to interpret and express her artistic side. Nonetheless, through the challenges and criticisms that she has faced in her entire career, one thing is seen to have remained constant and that is dedication as well as the passion of Gearon in her art and creative standpoint despite all the criticisms and controversies she has been through. As an artist and as a believer of the art which is passionate about, Tierney Gearon has stayed firm in her claims that all the photographs with his children and her family are all wonderful experiences that are free from any ill will and exploitations about her mother and his children (Where is the Sex).

In the end, it can be said that though majority of the photographs and arts by Tierney Gearon has been through criticisms and controversies which have established the thought that such works are not art but rather an exploitation of the young minds, there are still significant areas where these photos are indeed considered as an art that is only set to render the eyes of the people about the reality of life and the essence of innocence. Nonetheless, from a personal point of view, the photographs of Gearon in his children are not a picture of exploitation rather an art which depicts a strong point of reality and representation of the purity of innocence. Thus, a mother like Tierney Gearon knows what is best for his children and that is not to exploit them in her photographs but rather guide them towards the goodness and honesty.

Works Cited

Longworth, Karina. “Tribeca Review: Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project – Cinematical.” Cinematical. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.cinematical.com/2006/04/24/tribeca-review-tierney-gearon-the-mother-project/>.

Youngelson, Jack. “Tierney Gearon: The mother Project”. <http://www.themotherproject.com/MP_PressKit.pdf>.

Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project. Dir. Peter Sutherland. Perf. Tierney Gearon. DVD. Zeitgeist Films, 2006.

Ottoni, Verinha. “Tierney Gearon – I Am a Camera by Verinha Ottoni. <http://www.verinhaottoni.com/diary/cultural/photography/004a.html >

The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited 2008. 04 December 2008 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/mar/13/childprotection>


Cite this Tierney Gearon Photography

Tierney Gearon Photography. (2016, Aug 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tierney-gearon-photography/

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