Statement of Work

I stage conceptual photographs as an exploration of maternal subjectivity. My work investigates the intimate relationship between mother and child and the reciprocity of mothering within this relationship. I draw attention to the emotional labor of mothering and maternal ambivalence- aspects often overlooked in mainstream representations of motherhood.

After spending several years circling my daughters, I have started developing a fear of redundancy. As they are maturing, their consciousness is expanding, and they are beginning to have private lives. Watching them blossom is a thing of joy, yet at times I feel wistful over the passage of their childhood, of them needing me like they used to.

I find myself reckoning with the impermanence of all things in this world. Perhaps triggered by the death of loved ones during the pandemic, or by the onset of a midlife crisis. Or, perhaps, by the realization that as my daughters are becoming mature, they need me less, and I need them more. Or, the fact that their clock is keeping my time—time, which often feels subjective and cyclical, yet we go through life considering it objective and linear.

In The Fragility of Time, images are metaphors for feelings such as hope, despair, liminality, and longing. Memories, dreams, and an unsettling ambivalence guide my creative inquiry. I stage compositions inside my home to oppose its consideration as a private nonproductive realm and attribute value to motherwork. I also turn to Central Park where, in the company of the trees, wildflowers, and weeds, I found a sanctuary when I needed one. It is also where I have spent countless hours with my children­—bringing them out for play, whether it was sledding in the quiet of winters, chasing fireflies in the summer dusk, livening our senses with the bloom of spring, or relishing the hues of fall.




Shweta Bist (b. 1980) is a South Asian American photographer. Her investigations are inspired by personal narrative and rooted in the identities of woman and mother. Brought up in New Delhi, India, Shweta began her professional career in the financial sector but was led to a creative life after the birth of her younger child. Both her daughters were born in Dubai, UAE, where she lived with her husband for six years before relocating to the U.S. in early 2013. Presently, she has a self-directed practice and works from her studio at home in New York City.


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