‘Photo Therapy: My mother’ (1988) was a collaboration with Valerie Walkerdine. It is comprised of six photographs depicting Jo dressed up as a housewife, as her own mother. She appears fatigued and discontent: she’s taking off her glasses, she’s rubbing her forehead. The work itself was a direct critique of Jo’s own family class aspirations. She came from a workaholic family and one which Jo thought was highly repressed. Her parents worked tirelessly to keep poverty at bay and really pushed Jo to climb the social ladder. She was sent to secretarial college at a very young age, at the age of 14. In this work, Jo articulates through hard gestures and expressions the memories of her own mother coming home from work. The piece speaks to the relationship between Jo and her mother, and the stereotypes Jo associated with her mother. She was ashamed to be associated with her family while on social flight from her own class roots. This theme is something Jo really investigated throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. She couldn’t quite come to terms with her own status and with the status of her family.
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