by Hugo Weber

My mother and I have always had a very peculiar relationship. I’m the son of a French teenage single mother who always tried to let me be independent from her and from anyone else, even if it meant hurting me.

My mother was born in Aubervilliers in 1973, she has had a very complicated life, her mother aban- doned her with my grandfather along with her siblings when she was an infant.

My grandfather, who was not able to take care, sent her to a foster home at first and then with her grandmother until she was 16, the age at which her grandmother died and she went to live with her brother.

Thereafter she fell in love and became pregnant at 18 with an abusive man from whom she fled, meanwhile working as a photographer in a small studio in Paris.

Our relationship was peaceful in childhood although we were in a rather precarious condition, things get worse when she falls in love with an Italian man and we moved to Milan,.

After adolescence everything became very complicated, both because I was very rebellious and because my mother suffered from a severe aggressive drinking problem that meant that we didn’t talk to each other for years after she kicked me out of the house when I was 19.

In 2015, when she was just 42 years old she had a stroke that caused her physical and psychologi- cal handicaps, to this day she hasn’t totally recovered and has several memory issues.

The most heart breaking thing for me was that the illness had killed her free and proud side, showing me a new image of my mother, completely harmless and in need for help.

Since that day we used photography as a therapy and tool to accept her new condition of being always dependent on someone else and also to find her life back, thought her notes, her diary, the old pics, in order to find that part of herself that she lost through her illness.

This new therapeutic tool has radically changed our relationship; we have made new emotional connections and dialogue through images, both hers from her archives, past and present, and the ones I take every time I see her.

We are now deeply connected by photography, and I could not disassociate it from this new relation- ship we have; The fact that she is also a photographer makes her deeply understand and respect what I do.

With this project I would like to show the research I am doing about myself and my origins through the complicated, strange, and intense relationship I had, and still have, with my mother and photography.

For the very first time in my life I saw my mom as a woman and not just as a mother, and me as a son and not just as myself.