Claiborne Swanson Frank is a world-renowned fine art portrait photographer. Her latest photography book, published by Assouline, is an ethereal dream – a collection of portraits (as the name reveals) of mothers and their children. Accompanying the images are interviews with the women that come together to paint a picture of motherhood in the 21st Century.

Captured in the 280 page tome are names like Charlotte Groenveld, Carolina Herrera, and Tylynn Nguyen who are all tasked with looking inside themselves and thinking what being a mother means to them. We turned the tables and spoke with Claiborne about working on the book and sharing words of wisdom.

Nine In The Mirror is giving away a copy of the book to our Instagram followers. Simply follow us on @nineinthemirror and tag three mothers who inspire you in the mother and child post. We will choose a winner at random – just enter by 16/05/2018.


Q: How did you choose which mothers you wanted to include in Mother and Child?

I chose mothers that inspire me. Mothers that are leaving their mark on the earth as they contribute and create – all while holding their role as a mother most high and important in their lives.

Q: What do you think these women have in common with one another? Is there a common theme running through the book from the women’s Q+A? What is one thing you learned from the mothers (or children) after finishing the book?  

I learned how truly universal and human this experience of motherhood is — and how this love connects us all. I also had the revelation that families are our modern-day tribes. They give us purpose and shelter from the world. Our families define a part of who we are and who we want to be. I also learned how each mother is doing her very best to be the best parent she can be. Being a mother is the most important job we all have and we each only get one chance to do it right. I felt inspired by how important each mother found their role was as a mother and how deeply they want to raise loving, kind thoughtful children.

Q: Is there one mother in the world, from history or currently, who you would ask these questions of if you had the chance?

I think every mother has a powerful and profound point of view on mothering. I love learning from mothers of all walks of life and of all generations.


Q: What surprised you while working with these women on the book?

How through this experience of life, powerful bond of motherhood we all felt connected us to each other and that connection is the magic behind these portraits.

Q: What is a challenge of motherhood you didn’t expect?

I never knew being a mom would be as much fun as it is and at the same time I had no idea how hard parenting could be. No one can teach you how to be a parent. You have to learn each day and find your own truth as to how you want to raise your children. Being a parent forces you to look at your life and the morals and values you want to install in your children. Parenting has forced me to evolve as a human being and being a mother has made me a better person.

Q: What is your go-to or favourite way to dress a bump?

Pippa Holt Kaftans – I live in them.

Q: What wisdom do you think you could share with new or expecting mothers?

Once you become a mother your life is no longer your own, your heart belongs to your children and you never see life through the same lens. The beauty and power of motherhood leaves you transformed. Motherhood is one of the most powerful life experiences a woman can have. The creation of a child is a miracle — the reality that from love we can create a life is one of the great mysteries of the world. Once we create this life, we as a mother are forever responsible for this human being, for their health, happiness, protection. Our jobs as mothers never end so motherhood, unlike childhood, is an experience that lasts a life time.


The book is available to purchase from Assouline now.

Clairborne Swanson Frank on her new book Mother andChild

As told to Hannah Finnigan-Walsh