THE SALINA JOURNAL APPLAUSE WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997 3 BOOK OFFERS SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT '50s MOTHERHOOD n-)i MAUREEN CON IAN Scripps Howard News Sunken At first glance I was outraged at the photo cover of the coffee- table book "Mother." It's an illustration of "Mother As Coffee Table": an elderly woman on all fours balancing a kidney-shaped glass table-top on her back, fruit bowl and candy dish on top. I did a double-take, though, picked up the book, and read the dust-jacket notes: "This mother- daughter collaboration rips the stuffing and sentimentality out of the motherhood cult in world- class photographs." The photographer is Judy Olausen — named one of the top 10 photographers in the world by the Hasselblad camera company. The model is her mother, Vivian Olausen, 79. Judy tells the tale in more than 45 photos, with Vivian portraying the many faces of "motherhood" 1950s-style. The photos are gems of story-telling satire as elaborately staged as movie sets. Vivian is a pudding-faced model/actress with comedic talent. "Mother's Little Helpers" shows a blond-wigged Vivian in the kitchen decorating a heart- shaped cake, large bowl and mixer to her left; to her right, a large bottle of Valium pills, which explains the glazed look in her eye. "Mother Gets Permed" is howlingly funny — Vivian, wearing a look of confusion and faint suspicion, is rigged to an old-fashioned perming contraption of wires and plugs that has burst into flames. The photo tableaux are savagely funny, probably funniest to those who lived through that era or observed it, mothers and their middle-aged daughters. The accompanying text by Karin Winegar is one of the best I have seen for a book of this kind. She provides a lively narrative about the photo project, from idea to completion. "Olausen set out to depict an era in which women were corn- modified as domestic geishas, as sexpots with cookpots, as something not quite human," Ms. Winegar writes. Judy had been thinking about the series for awhile when she realized her mother would be the perfect model, Ms. Winegar writes, and quotes Judy: "She (Vivian) has what photographers call a rubber face — tremendous control over her facial expressions and the ability to convey any and all human emotion. I wasn't certain that my mother would want to do it, but I thought she probably would. We're very close — best friends — and enjoy spending time together." The mother-daughter team shopped garage and estate sales for '50s props and costumes, and went on location for photo shoots. For the sake of art, Vivian "was flown, shorn, set on fire, squeezed into bald caps, tied to the roof of a Plymouth Volare and strapped under a boulder," Ms. Winegar writes. Though full of wit and visual humor, the photo project had a serious side: "I wanted to tell the story of what it was like to be a woman in the 1950s," Judy says in the book's introduction. "A woman had virtually no career opportunities, except perhaps as a secretary or a nurse. I wanted younger women to see how far we've come — and to see that we didn't always have the options we have now." The book ends with "Mother as Angel." "I chose to photograph my mother as an angel because she's so kind and loving," Judy writes. Says her model and mother about the process: "We laugh our heads off. We're closer than bark on a tree," a quote on the dust jacket. Tliis would be a good book to give a hip mom — one with a sense of humor — for Mother's Day. Owt JO Vinyl Replacement Windows & Doors Waynes Custom iir Carl Strecker - Sales Wayne Wetzel-Owner 913-488-3617 825-9369 Ask Me For A Free Hearing Test HEARING AIDS 827-8911 1-800-448-0215 Alan Grigsby 234 S. Santa Fc 21 Years Experience Salina SUNFLOWER HOME CARE 645 E. 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