Allison Davis O’Keefe – Mother: Daughter; Daughter: Mother

Allison Davis O’Keefe

Mother: Daughter; Daughter: Mother

“Mother: Daughter; Daughter: Mother” is an ongoing personal project about the awkward place between being a daughter and having a daughter.

For the first year and a half of my daughters life, I didn’t take any photos.

Being alone with a child was a depth of loneliness I had never known.

and yet I was still a daughter – a role that hadn’t changed.

switching between the two dynamics and having the worlds collide is confusing and awkward.

every time I am with my mother I revert to a childlike place of needing to feel that I belong

But I am a mother too so where do I fit?

One day, when my daughter was about two and a half, I found a plastic “toy” camera in my office and some expired film.

This is where the project started.

It continues as I use the camera to navigate my joy and discomfort.




Allison Davis O’Keefe is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, the International Center of Photography, and the Eddie Adams Workshop.

Her career in journalism began with CBS New in New York and Washington, DC covering the US Congress, presidential campaigns and other major events around the United States.

In 2012 Allison released her first book titled, One Goal, which was awarded the prestigious book prize by the PDN Photo Annual in 2013.

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Allison Davis O’Keefe



3 Responses to “Allison Davis O’Keefe – Mother: Daughter; Daughter: Mother”

  • Hello,

    I like 5, 8, 14 and 16. And I miss the part of you as a daughter…


  • Sensitive, bordering on the ethereal.

    So this is what happens when the right young mother picks up a toy camera loaded with expired film…

    I looked at the essay before I read your bio and was then a little disappointed to read you had graduated from the International Center of Photographer and Eddie Adams Workshop. It’s good that you did – I was just caught up in the romance of a young mother picking up that toy camera and then just going on all on her own to do something so magical as this.

    Obviously, the professional training did not hurt you.

  • It’s honest , and yes it quite unsettling to have a child and do the part . I do think you are in this too , as a daughter through your daughter .

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