© Leigh Ledare, Me and mom in photobooth, 2008
© Leigh Ledare, Mom and me in mirror, 2002
“Indeed, Ledare’s work reveals signs that the relationship between mother and son is also one of professional complicity. In an interview printed on the book’s cover, Peterson defines herself as the ‘model’ who is ‘working her butt off’. At the same time, photo-booth strips of Ledare and his mother mugging for the camera and making out like teenagers provide glimpses of the pair as willing co-conspirators. Such insertions create a layer of artifice that unsettles the raw, confessional mode that Ledare seems to be emulating. His predecessors in the field, like Larry Clark and Nan Goldin, have also confronted sexual taboos and flirted with pornography, or, as with Richard Billingham’s documentary images of his family, raised the stakes of familial intimacy and revelation. Despite their explicitness, Ledare’s photographs are neither bluntly documentary nor achingly sincere, but are knowingly mediated through the languages and tropes of contemporary art. His idiom is that of an artist who has already absorbed the romanticization of these previous projects and is looking for way to further complicate the relationship of artist and muse.
In this way, Ledare’s work might signal a shift in this kind of expressionist, confessional tradition of photography. In a culture where candid personal photographs litter the Internet and people willingly use reality TV shows to expose their personal baggage, Ledare is aware that any attempt at authenticity will already be polluted. Maybe the confessional can no longer be confronted head-on, but rather with a sidelong glance, or with a knowing look out the corner of one’s eye. But Ledare’s gazes are no less poignant or penetrating because of it.”
excerpt from Christy Lange’s article