photo by Dianne Yudelson
The Museum for Object Research is grateful once more to object artist Kate Murdoch for the heads up on a heartbreaking photo project by Dianne Yudelson that deals with miscarriage. It is called Lost and takes on the 11 miscarriages she’s had over the course of several years in the form of a photographic record of related objects for each baby lost. It’s been ten years since her last miscarriage and previously Dianne has kept the objects and mementos she conserved private, but,
“She decided to take photographs of the objects linked to her miscarriages, as a way to not only offer a show of support and understanding for other women, but to document her personal experience, work through her own journey, and honour ‘these precious lives’.”
I found the work difficult to access to begin wth but was quickly charmed and somewhat overwhelmed. I noted to my shame a momentary flinching from the subject. We fear emotional pain, and the loss of a baby is particularly poignant, but there’s something more I can’t quite grasp. An extra layer of difficulty in processing and comprehending this kind of grief.
The photographs are in black and white, which I think serves to create a balance between archival documentation and emotionality. The use of black and white keeps these objects at a distance, signalling that they belong in the past, and yet each one has a name tag and an ultrasound scan image to personalise and memorialise.
The women I’ve known who’ve gone through miscarriage count each pregnancy as though having carried a live child. What seems to exacerbate the loss is often a sense of awkwardness and a lack of acknowledgement of the subject too. I hope this is changing and more recognition of the true nature of grief on miscarriage is dawning.
It feels incredible that women can suffer so many miscarriages – nature is at time unbearably cruel. What I really love about this work is the heartbeat that pulses through it. In particular the image for Georgia, which conjures the body of the child through the clothing, strikes me in this way. It’s almost playful, and would definitely seem so if the viewer was not aware of the context.
I love too the courage and the coming to terms with loss this body of work implies. It commands many emotions in the viewer and is well worth spending time over.