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Gearon, Tierney: The Mother Project

Director(s): Peter Sutherland, Jack Youngelson

Theatrical Release: 2006

Cast: Tierney Gearon

Genre(s): Documentary, art, biography, culture, psychological, Dean's List

Countries: USA

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(1 / 1)
Ant Rating
Running Time: 70m.

Filmmakers Peter Sutherland and Jack Youngelson profile controversial photographer Tierney Gearon in a documentary that traces the acclaimed shutterbug's personal development and highly publicized run in with London police -- who deemed her 2001 exhibition at a London's Saatchi Gallery pornographic. When Gearon was just a young adolescent, her mother began to experience troubling psychological problems that eventually shattered their entire family. Years later, as the artist's own marriage began to fail, Gearon immersed herself in film as a means of documenting her family and embarking on an inward journey of self-examination. Whether her portraits were of her two young children or her elderly mother, the photographer consistently claims that every picture she takes is a self-portrait. In 2001, authorities accused Gearon of child pornography upon discovering that her Saatchi Gallery exhibition contained nude pictures of her children, and as a result Gearon began to doubt her abilities as a parent as she increasingly turned her lens on her own mother. (


Zeitgeist DVD Special Features:

! Over 20 minutes of deleted scenes including footage from The Mother Project's New York gallery opening

! Home movies including rare Super-8 footage

! Selected Tierney Gearon photos from The Mother Project series

! Trailer & Filmmakers' Statement

Member Reviews

Candid life isn't always so candid by C20005635 - August 10, 2008
So, everyone has mother issues. The documentary certainly doesn't appear to hold much back. Gearon, as a photographer, has an amazing eye for her subjects. There is no denying that she creates visions that are extraordinary. I wonder how much of her personal life is sacrificed to create her visions. Perhaps I should be offended by her nude children in masks. I wasn't. What did offend me was that her children and her mother to a large extent are merely props. I kept wondering if she felt love for her children or merely was guarding them because they gave great photos. Was her mindfulness of her children merely the same regard she might show for an expensive camera? When her daughter hits her son and he cries while her mother suggests she soothe her son, she instead reaches for the camera.

I treat my mother well, but if a camera crew followed me around full-time, I am sure I would have moments that were negative, fights, harsh words, etc. I don't expect Tierney to be a saint, but she seemed abusive at times. She seemed to grapple with exploiting her mother, even as she did it. Maybe art can only come from great selfishness.

In the extras, we see more interactions with her children as she exposes them to other countries, but it always involves a photo-op. Did we really need to see her son peeing in public more than once? I give her kudos for courage to expose herself to us without apology or apprehension.