My Mother - James Friedman

Mom, 1959
Mom, 1975
Mom, 1989

My Mother (1,029,398 Cigarettes)
My mother began smoking when she was eleven years old and we determined, towards the end of her life, she had smoked approximately 1,029,398 cigarettes during her lifetime. 1,029,398 Cigarettes shows the life and death of my mother through photographs I made starting when I was nine years old and continuing for three decades, until her death.
Mom, 1926
  Mom with her older brother, 1929
Mom, 1944 
 Mom, 1968
Mom, 1965
Mom, 1967

The project reveals the transformation of an attractive, charismatic woman to one suffering the torturous physical ravages of emphysema caused by forty-seven years of smoking.

Mom with her brothers, 1986

Mom, 1962
Mom, 1990

Contrary to her camera-shy nature, my mother actually encouraged me to photograph her during the harrowing last eight months of her life, all spent either in a hospital or a nursing home.

The most significant benefit of our photographic collaboration was discovering ways to express affection toward one another; I don’t remember any kissing or even minimal displays of affection between members of my family as I was growing up.

Mom with her brothers, 1990
Mom, 1989
 Me kissing Mom, 1990

After visiting my mother in the hospital on a daily basis for eight months and photographing frequently, we began—for the first time in our lives—to kiss goodbye when I departed for the day. Our newly discovered demonstrations of affection were poignant and bittersweet, as we knew she had only a short time to live.
© James Friedman

Mom, 1972

It is a touching and loving portrait that James Friedman has created. He calls it "1,029,398 Cigarettes" - I want to suggest an alternative title; "My Mother", because this is all about his mother. You will get to know more of James Friedman's work in the coming weeks on 591 Photography - he is a great photographer from Columbus, Ohio, USA. - Mr Urbano



a wonderful touching portrait of a mother and the consequences of a lifestyle - I had a smoking mother with an emphysema too.
the slowly process of dissolution
is hard to shown in james photos.
his series is a great hommage to life !
cafe selavy said…
This is scary good. That people die, even when aided by the choices they make, is a given. This has the potential to show that people live in the meantime, that ensconced in the pathos of life are multiple glories. I'm hoping for both.
brbulka.g said…
Beautiful ... emotionally charged pictures ... Life ...