Photographer Noelle McCleaf is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  These images are from her project ‘A Bee In Her Bonnet‘.  To see Noelle’s projects click on any image.


My Mother is Bear


Great Aunt Josephine Haynes


Erma and Milly’s Collars, 1898


The Filet


A Bee in Her Bonnet (from Robert Herrick’s “Mad Maid’s Song,” 1648), photographically illustrates curious reunions between mother and daughter. Photographs are constructed from a combined source of personal narratives, reflecting on time lost and found.

Together as mother and daughter, we meet and recall our past experiences from what seems like lifetimes ago.  The sweltering evening heat, lingering from oppressive southern days, induces visions of time gone by. Artifacts of relatives past litter the landscape, like ripe and rotting fruit—memories returning to the soil to be remade.   Through pictures, we construct our chronicles, creating altered allegories from cultivated clues.

In these images, we revisit our ancestry through collective memory, remaking, reinventing, and reclaiming our history through photographs. Times have changed, and we have spent years apart, but when looking through a kaleidoscope of family film negatives, we find that we remain intrinsically the same. The photographs in A Bee in Her Bonnet catalogue our transformations and experiences from the past, through the present, and into the future.  They create new narratives that continue to tie us together, worlds apart, yet forever linked in converging histories.


Daughter Unencumbered (Erma’s Apron, 1923)


Guard, Guide, Direct, Protect (Mother’s Chant)


Under the Tangerine Tree


The Mother-Fish (Bonita)


She Still Smells Sweetly of Honey


See also:


By Noelle McCleaf