At one point during Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project, the controversial fine art photographer after whom the film is named reveals that, as a result of her rocky childhood, she feels emotionally exposed. There could be no better summation of Gearon's work or Jack Youngelson and Peter Sutherland's documentary, which studies the intensely intimate relationships that the photographer has formed with her three highly personal subjects: her mother and two children. Gearon rose to art-world prominence with a scandalous show at London's notorious Saatchi Gallery in Spring 2001, during which the London police nearly charged her with child pornography over certain images depicting her two children in the nude. Even though the uproar was absurd, the press had a tremendous impact on Gearon. She began to doubt herself as a mother, and as a result, the focus of her photography shifted from her children to her own manic-depressive, schizophrenic mother. With this intriguing mother-daughter dynamic in mind, the two directors explore Gearon's mother's psychological problems, which began when Gearon was a young teen and resulted in the rupture of her parents' marriage. Years later, Gearon's own failed marriage proves to be one of the catalysts for her immersion in photography. Throughout the film Gearon maintains that photography is her way of documenting her family while undertaking a kind of expressive self-examination. According to her, all of her photos are portraits of herself.
About the Director(s)
Jack Youngelson has worked as a writer, producer, and field producer on documentaries shown on HBO, PBS, A&E, Bravo, BBC, and Channel Four. He has also collaborated with Moxie Firecracker Films on three documentaries. Youngelson wrote and produced The Homestead Strike for The History Channel's Ten Days that Unexpectedly Changed America, and Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable for HBO's America Undercover. He wrote and coproduced The Nazi Officer's Wife, which premiered on A&E. He then wrote and produced Connecticut: Seasons of Light, which won the 2003 Regional Emmy Award™.
Peter Sutherland's first feature documentary Pedal premiered at South by Southwest before airing on the Sundance Channel. He was the director of photography on Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, which premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. He is a contributing photographer to Vice, Tokion, and Nylon. He published his first book of photos, Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers.
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