Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


My Mother's Clothes

[From My Mother's Clothes, copyright © 2010 Jeannette Montgomery Barron,]

My Mother's Clothes, a moving, intimate -- and unexpectedly joyful -- volume of still lifes from respected Atlanta-born photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron, began simply with the artist's attempt to jog her mother's memories when the fog of Alzheimer’s set in.

 [From My Mother's Clothes, copyright © 2010 Jeannette Montgomery Barron,]

Her mom, Eleanor "Ellie" Montgomery Atuk, was for years one of Atlanta's best dressed community-minded citizens with a vast closet storing designs from Bill Blass (a good friend), Yves St. Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and Norman Norell.

 [From My Mother's Clothes, copyright © 2010 Jeannette Montgomery Barron,]

While daughter Jeannette never shared her mother's passion for couture, the pictures she shot of the clothes had a profound impact on their relationship, helping Ellie's failing memory, but also enabling the two women to connect more deeply. So Jeanette took the photographs to another level, juxtaposing the clothes, shoes and other personal belongings with very specific textiles that held layers of meaning for the family.  Usually textiles. In the example above, a Maud Frizon bag is staged on lush green grass.

I think in the end we are all so defined by our personal passions. Serious fans of vintage fashion will obviously enjoy the clothes Jeanette recorded, but it's really about small moments, and that passion, more than the posessions. The book is a biography of sorts told through vignettes.

[From My Mother's Clothes, copyright © 2010 Jeannette Montgomery Barron,]

A series of events related to My Mother's Clothes, and intended to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, launch next week in Savannah with a fashion and photography exhibition at SCAD’s Hall Street Gallery, 212 W. Hall Street. Opening April 9, the show highlights the author/photographer's images of her mother’s clothing collection from the late 1950s through the 90s. Sales of framed photographs from the exhibition will benefit SCAD scholarships. The following day, April 14, Jeannette Montgomery Barron will be at The Paris Market & Brocante, 36 West Broughton Street, from noon to 4 p.m., where she will read excerpts from her book and sign a copy with purchase.

During the next few weeks I'll share more about the Atlanta events, but please mark your calendar for the April 26 book signing at SCAD-Atlanta’s Trois Gallery from 6 to 7 p.m. during SCAD Style week. 

To see a video about the book, click here. Learn more about Jeannette Montgomery Barron's photography here and here. In Atlanta, she is represented by Jackson Fine Art.

Related past post: First Look.


Karena said...

Courtney, how fascinating! This is really art from the heart!

Art by Karena

Lisa said...

I just purchased this book and thought it was such a moving tribute. Jeanette's photography is absolutely incredible. The story resonated with me on several levels - my mother's love of fashion was something of a glue that bonded us throughout the years - and it's helped a great deal in recent years (she's now 85 and has cancer).

A Perfect Gray said...

lovely. thank you...

La Maison Fou said...

What a great idea & for such a worthy cause. My grandmother died from Alzheimer's, it is a dreadful disease. Sadly, affecting the living who care for these patients so dramatically. To erease an entire memory from day to day is such a tragic side effect. My mum had such a time trying to connect with the past.

home before dark said...

This post moved me to tears. Such a lovely gesture, daughter to mother, family to a wonderful cause. Again, Style Court, you lead with your heart. A most lovely trait.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this Courtney!

My grandmother whose love of clothes provided me with the awesome shopping bag collection also suffered of Alzheimer's.

It is so difficult to watch loved ones suffer.

Style Court said...

Hi everyone! I'm really pleased with the positive reaction to the book. It really is interesting and poetic, and by the way, a breezy read, even though it's quite deep.

Style Court said...


Your comment touched me very much. I can't tell you how motivating it is to get input like that. Obviously the work is Jeannette's but it's nice to know when my choice of subject matter strikes the right chord.


Blayne Macauley said...

I have been a fan of hers for a long time. I did not know she had a book. How exciting. Can't wait to hear about more events.

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors said...

Anne, what a lovely tribute to one's mother...I feel the tears coming on...Just lovely. Will order the book tomorrow. As always, a wonderful article.

Anonymous said...

Just read about this earlier and ordered the book.

What a lovely blog you have.

Style Court said...

Thanks Tabitha!

Anonymous said...

What charming idea