Models: Mary Jane Auch, Chloe Brown, and Katrin Auch
This is very much a tribute image and a group effort. I asked my father Herm Auch if he would look back through the photographs that he took of my mother and send me any that he though would work for my style of photography. I figured my mom deserved to be a fairy princess. The picture he found was a headshot of her looking over her shoulder, I loved the look on her face, like she was inviting you to follow her. So I asked Chloe Brown if she would mind body-doubling for the shot, and she was happy to help. The dress Chloe/Mom is wearing is a bridesmaid dress that Mom wore for a friend’s wedding. It was part of my dress-up trunk when I was a kid and remains a staple of my costume closet now, It has always been one of my favorites.
The background is the main pathway into the woods on my parents’ farm, just over the creek. Growing up on the farm, the woods were a magic place — the real world would fall away and I could be anything or anywhere in the woods. My mom encouraged my brother and I to use our imaginations, and it was always a big part of her work as a writer and artist. My imagination tends to veer toward fantasy and legend, where my mom tells stories that are in grounded in real life (dancing chickens not withstanding.) Even though we don’t end in the same place, we both tell stories, and that is a gift that she has given me.
As I spent time working on the story that I wanted to tell, I decided on the concept of Mom inviting the viewer to walk down the path with her. As I was sketching in details, I kept thinking about what would make her happy…and that would probably be having me in the picture with her. So that is how I ended up creating a self-portrait for the first time! Since I was going to be in front of the camera with Chloe, I needed my husband Dan’s help to take the photo. So thanks to all who helped — and thanks for inspiring me, Mom.