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Interview
Claiborne Swanson Frank

Claiborne Swanson Frank Captures Motherhood

With patience and sensitivity, she captures tender moments between our generation’s most inspiring mothers and their children.

Claiborne Swanson Frank has created a visual masterpiece in her new book, Mother and Child. With patience and sensitivity, she captures tender moments between our generation’s most inspiring mothers and their children. Her unparalleled artistic intuition lets her tell their stories, illuminating the beauty and the love that they share. With two adorable boys of her own, Claiborne understands the cherished relationship children share with their moms.

Mother and Child allows her audience to view the world as she does, and we were eager to learn more about the genius behind the camera.

How did you develop the idea behind your book?

Motherhood transformed my world. In many ways, I was a child until I had my own children. My small reality and my own needs exploded with the birth of my first son. I suddenly felt a responsibility and purpose I had never known before. With my new insight, I felt inspired to tell a modern story of motherhood, to document and honor this profound human experience. My hope was to take portraits of mothers and their children that captured love and joy, to try to stop time in a series of photographs – and show how this experience connects us all.

Anne Vyalitsyna byt Claiborne Swanson Frank

Anne Vyalitsyna

Can you share some of the most memorable moments from these photoshoots?

The Bush Family shoot will forever remain in my head and in my heart. It was such a honor to photograph four generations of women from this iconic American Family. I took the portrait on their family compound in Maine. I had the feeling it was their sacred land, the place in the world that gave them peace and joy. It was magical documenting that moment and capturing the joy in their eyes.

You are a mother of two living in New York, what are some of your favorite family-friendly destinations?

We spend most of our free time in the park. We talk long walks with our dog Blue, we sail model sail boats in the boat pond, we go to the zoo and chase the kids around the playground. Central Park is the heartbeat of our day to day.

There is so much beauty in your photographs of mothers with their children. What is the trick to capturing the perfect moment?

I am looking for beauty, strength, joy, love. I am also waiting for a feeling… this indescribable feeling that confirms the moment is in front of me.

Carolina Herrera by Claiborne Swanson Frank

Carolina Herrera de Baez

How do you define beauty as a renowned photographer?

Beauty calls to me, it is in everything, it is everywhere. Beauty inspires everything I do and my job as a photographer is to honor the beauty I see around me.

Any special plans for Mother’s Day?

I plan to spend the days with the boys, that is my only plan.

photographs by Claiborne Swanson Frank, courtesy of Assouline Publishing

Lani Allen

Lani Allen is a graduate of Columbia University’s Non-fiction Creative Writing program. After serving as Vice President of her class for two years, she contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with a passion for beauty, Lani enjoys capturing the stories of innovative thinkers and risk-takers shaping the industry as we know it.

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