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Chores prompt chuckles in funny photos of 'disrupted domestic acts'

Jan. 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM ET

Image: PB&J in the face
Lee Materazzi
PB and SPLAT! Artist Lee Materazzi and her mother, Alice Kellogg, tackled a photography project together in which ordinary household tasks go awry.

If you thought the household chores your mother assigned you were taxing, Lee Materazzi will put you to shame with her recent photography series on "disrupted domestic acts."

In it, the 31-year-old San Francisco artist teams up with her own mother to show a series of everyday abode-related activities — doing laundry, making breakfast, dusting windows — gone utterly and hilariously wrong.

In one photo, for instance, Materazzi's mother Alice Kellogg slaps two pieces of peanut-butter-and-jelly-covered bread onto her cheeks. In another, Materazzi sticks her head inside a plastic-wrapped plate of leftovers.

"The disrupted domestic acts are ... a form of rebellion against conformity," Materazzi told TODAY.com, noting that she and her mom turned everyday chores "upside down and into anything other than what they are supposed to be."

Image: Attack of the horizontal blinds
Lee Materazzi
Look out! Those horizontal blinds are in attack mode!

Materazzi said she frequently features her mother, a former commercial photographer, in her work; in fact, some of Materazzi's inspiration for this series came from criticism that she featured her mother too often.

"I suppose it made me think about our relationship more and why it is so significant to have her involved in what I do,” Materazzi said. “So instead of refraining from having her be the subject, I decided to embrace her willingness and have the focus be about her."

In the "disrupted domestic acts" series, Materazzi herself is the subject of half the photographs, with her mother as the photographer.

"She has always been productively critical of my photography, as I have never had any formal training in this department," Materazzi said. "It became a bit of a playful battle of the egos as to who could be the better subject and/or photographer. There was a lot of pride in both of those roles for my mother."

Image: Cake face
Lee Materazzi
Lee Materazzi's mother Alice Kellogg, pictured here, said her favorite photos in the series captured her making her face into a cake.

Not that there's any surprise that the two make such an adept creative team. "I have a very close relationship with my mother and always have," Materazzi said. She now has a 1-year-old daughter — the focus of her next photo series — and she said becoming a parent has shown her the ways in which she and her mother are similar and dissimilar.

"I hope that I am able to be as supportive as my mother was with me, with whatever it is that drives and interests my daughter," she said. "Sometimes I catch myself not wanting to do what she wants to do and I tell myself to be more patient. ... I don’t think that my mother really wanted to pour chicken noodle soup on her head." 

Erma Bombeck once said, “Housework, if you do it right, can kill you.” A photography series called "disrupted domestic acts" shows just how true that is.


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