Roughly four times a year, Christie Sindledecker said her mother experiences anger spurts. These are times when the whole house ends up in shambles. Christie Sindledecker’s first thought? “I wish I had my camera.”
Christie Sindledecker said she and her mother, Tina Sindledecker, have always had adversities within their relationship.
For nearly a year and a half, Christie Sindledecker has privately documented her relationship with her mother through photography, re-creating certain debacles, and catching some in the act.
She would show her work to professionals and fine art photographers at multiple photography conferences. They all seemed to react the same, telling her not to take the photos for school, but as an emotional outlet.
Now, Christie Sindledecker has decided to make her photos public.
Christie Sindledecker is in the process of taking photos of 15 mother-daughter teams for an art exhibit that will be displayed in the McDonough Museum of Art starting on April 27.
The photos, she said, will show mothers and daughters in a part of their home that is meaningful to them. A written statement by the daughters will accompany the photos, explaining why their maternal bond is so strong.
Beneath each of the 5-by-5 grids of photos, there will be a picture of a similar environment nostalgic to Christie Sindledecker, but it will be empty of her and her mother.
“I’ve been surrounded by people who have really strong bonds with their moms my whole life, and I’ve always compared and contrasted them. And instead of moping about it, I started taking time to investigate them,” Christie Sindledecker said.
Tina Sindledecker said she was dismayed at the thought of her relationship with her daughter being put on public display, and said she can’t help but be nervous.
However, she said there are two sides to every story, and this is simply her daughter’s way of expressing her side.
“It’s like we’re two peas in a pod — so much the same but so different,” Tina Sindledecker said. “Everyone deals with anger differently, and usually you just react without thinking. And I’m working on it, as I hope she is.”
Christie Sindledecker said she was inspired by the relationship between her best friend and Warren native, Amie Holko, and her mother. She said Holko’s mother stepped in as a mother figure for her on a friendly level.
“I find it so amazing that she has instilled so much in Amie, not only as her mother, but as her best friend,” Christie Sindledecker said.
Holko is the youngest of four children and the only girl. She said that made her bond with her mother strong. She added that she wanted nothing more than to be like her mom when she was young.
“She was always there to talk to if I needed anything,” Holko said. “She never got mad at me for something that most people wouldn’t dare go to their mom about, and she was very motivating.”
Christie Sindledecker will take photos of Holko and her mother as a part of the project. Holko said she anticipates the photos being taken in her mother’s bedroom, where they have regular in-depth conversations.
Holko said the project would be motivating to those who see it. She said she is proud that her relationship with her mother can be used as a positive example.
“Maybe after seeing the photos, someone will be motivated to call their mom,” Holko said. “Even for people who have close relationships with their mom, I think it will remind them how important the bond is.”
Christie Sindledecker said initially she was hoping that her and her mother would learn from the project and take away the words used by the daughters to build a stronger relationship.
However, she said her mother has essentially distanced herself from the project, so it’s more for her piece of mind.
Tina Sindledecker said she doesn’t know what stage the project is at now, but she remains proud of all that her daughter has accomplished.
“She’s my daughter, and blood is thicker than water. I don’t care how bad things are, we are always going to be family,” Tina Sindledecker said. “As far as her creativity, I just don’t know how she does it. When she pulls it all together, it’s like, ‘Wow, where did this come from?'”
Tina Sindledecker said she hopes to learn something from the project and hopes that other people can learn from it as well. She said she and her daughter don’t have a close relationship, but she knows they both want that to change.
Christie Sindledecker said she agrees and is also nervous about what people will think of her exhibit. She said she saw a lot of her relationship with her mother in the photos she has taken.
“I see similar stuff in my relationship; it’s just how it’s handled,” she said. “I am learning that I need to interact with my mom. Everything about this project is a learning experience, and from every photo I learn how to communicate better with my mom.”