THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Figurines of pregnant women are among the most common artifacts from the Paleolithic era and, whatever their original purpose, they still have the power to affect us. So do Elinor Carucci’s intimate photographs of herself pregnant, and with her infant twins after their birth. Ms. Carucci herself seems somewhat confounded by her condition. In “Feeling me” (2004), she shows herself naked, posed as an odalisque against a black background with her husband’s hand (all we see of him) resting on her distended belly. Her expression is contemplative. Whether she is thinking of the past, and the circumstances that led to her present condition, or of the several imaginable futures ahead, it is impossible to tell.
Ms. Carucci makes frequent use of close-ups, as in “My belly after giving birth and c section” (2004). It starts below her waist with strips of plastic adhesive on her incision; includes stretch marks around her belly button; and ends just above her engorged breasts, whose enlarged nipples appear as startled eyes. There are also extreme close-ups: The 17-by-22-inch print of “Bruised mouth” (2007) is filled with a child’s lips so we can see the swelling on the lower left. The camera is close enough to “Emmanuelle having her hair cut” (2007) for us to see the tiny bits of cut hair on her forehead. And it is a challenge for anyone not the subject’s mother to love the river of mucus in “Eden crying #3” (2006).
Review by William Meyers, October 8, 2011