‘Photo Therapy: Early Mother’ was one of the first Photo Therapy works that Jo ever executed with Rosy Martin. In it she references a time in her life when she was shipped out to Cornwall at the age of six as a wartime evacuee. The work references early memories of her mother at the time, which are laced with feelings of abandonment and anger.
In revisiting her memories, she visualizes her mother getting up at 5am to make sandwiches and flasks of tea before she would go out with her husband as a war worker. One can see the anger Spence internalized through her steely grip on her knife and stern expression in the photograph. It is a compelling scene of domestic servitude, but equally, it prompted Spence to think about her mother as a woman with a life of her own. Going out to work opened up an entire new environment and a release for her, providing an opportunity to work alongside other women and develop friendships at the time.
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