Fly in Amber by Pamela Connolly


Fly in Amber gathers photographs that tell the story of the last days of childhood and motherhood from the vantage of the emptying nest. Time moves slowly here yet can be seen in the threadbare arm of a chair or a tear in a screen door. These portraits are an offering between mother and daughter. Behind the gaze of both, there is a sense of letting go and making ready for what lies ahead.

Fly in Amber’s eight unbound chapters are housed in a hand-made, clamshell box that invites the viewer into its rooms and gardens, the domestic spaces that hold so much portent. Each chapter consists of an 8-panel accordion structure that allows the viewer to create different image relationships that parse together, like the moving light of day, multifold stories. On the verso of each unfolded page is a single, large image in counterpoint. The book opens with a dedication to Lady Clementina Hawarden, a virtually unknown 19th-century photographer who created hundreds of evocative portraits of her daughters during a brief career that ended at age 42 when she died. At a time when women were bound to the home and family, Clementina and her daughters created a world apart, drawing back the curtains of their London townhouse to let in the light. As a nod to her seminal work, the book includes a reproduction of one of her images, a mirror to my own.

Artist Bio

Pam Connolly has been photographing the theme of home for more than a decade. Her tin dollhouses, family portraits, and photographs of domestic spaces look closely at the American dream and the yearning between the imaginary and the real.

Connolly received an MFA in Photography from the Hartford Art School's Limited-Residency Program (2014). Her photographs belong in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Brown University's Permanent Collections and her artist books are part of the Beineke Library, the Fine Arts Library at Harvard, the Hirsch Library, and the Art and Design Collection at the University of Michigan.

Connolly has exhibited nationally at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans, Foley Gallery in NYC, and Candela Gallery in Richmond, VA., and internationally at the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Kominek Gallery in Berlin.

Mother of three daughters, Pam lives in the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, with her husband David and her dog Samson.