The Daughters of Job: Photographs by Alison Malone
Through December 12, 2015
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library presents an intriguing look at a modern Masonic youth organization in the exhibition “The Daughters of Job: Photographs by Alison Malone.” Malone’s fifteen evocative photographs present a unique insider’s view of present day Job’s Daughters. Picturing both participants and the spaces they create for their meetings, Malone’s photographs capture the thoughtfulness and care the girls bring to their activities and ritual. The exhibition is on view December 13, 2014 through December 12, 2015.
Familiar with the Job’s Daughters as a former member, Malone had found the experience to be intense as a child, yet increasingly fascinating to consider as an adult. Before photographing the girls for their portraits, Malone asked them to think about what qualities—bravery, strength or confidence—they wanted to convey in their posture and expression. “Let your eyes tell the story of who you are,” she advised as they worked together. Malone’s photos also underscore how, in undertaking ritual, the girls create a space in which they, collaborating as a group, become part of a tradition and activity bigger than they are as individuals. Members derive joy from their meetings, says Malone, and form deep connections with each other. In the present day when much social interaction is not face to face, Malone observed how the girls are drawn to the actual physical meetings. “They create their meeting spaces with intention, and take great pride in their work,” she said.
Job’s Daughters, a fraternal group for girls, was founded in 1920 by Nebraskan Ethel T. Wead Mick (1881-1957). Through a ritual centered on the Biblical story of Job’s faith in the face of suffering, Mick sought to inspire members “to remain steadfast and upright” through difficulties. Membership was originally exclusive to girls between the ages of 13 and 18 who were related to a Master Mason, his wife or widow, by blood or marriage. Today, membership in Job’s Daughters has expanded and is open to girls aged between 10 and 20, who are related to a Master Mason or past member, or claim an ancestor who was Master Mason. By 1930 Mick’s group had grown to over 290 chapters (called Bethels) across the country. Today Job’s Daughters meet in over 30 states and in five countries. More than 10,000 girls belong to the group.
Malone has been photographing Job’s Daughters since 2007. In her work she uses both audio and visual documentation to explore subcultures that are overlooked and often misunderstood in American society. Malone explores new ways to observe the significance of the everyday occurrences in people, places and objects that surround them while searching for the subtle threads that connect us all.
In 2008, Malone earned her master’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She received a bachelor’s degree in photography from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in Minnesota. She has been an instructor at several institutions in Minnesota including Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the Arts Institute International Minnesota. Malone has been exhibited locally and nationally. Among her awards and honors she is a current recipient of a McKnight Fellowship for the Visual Arts. You can find Alison Malone’s website at www.alisonmalone.com.