the most beautiful poems are written by the bodies of women (rune lazuli)

Motherhood. Probably most women would say the same thing about it. It’s exhausting, chaotic, hard and messy. Yet it’s beautiful, amazing and causes the heart to almost explode with love you never knew was hiding in the crevasses of your self. And to make it even more confusing all the above can happen within a five minute period. This rollercoaster happens regularly at my house. The other morning is a classic example of this. It was a morning like any other. The family were sitting around the table doing whatever it is they do in the morning. Harper was drawing, Ziggy was reading a book to Scout who was sitting on Steve’s lap and Steve was eating breakfast. A Ben Harper record was on in the background and I was making the school lunches. I looked over at them all and thought I could possibly burst. Look at them I said to myself. My tribe. The song I walked down the isle to came on and I started to cry (and just between you & me I think Steve had a tear in his eye too!). This was the definition of happiness. Then literally within minutes it all came unstuck. Tantrums, crying, yelling, doors slamming. You name it, it happened. Over what I can’t remember. But after all was said and done and the ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love yous’ were said I laughed. My life; a beautiful, beautiful chaotic mess.

Being a self-professed observer of human interaction (its a thing, I swear) I have noticed a thing or two. Mothers are overly critical of themselves and document their children’s lives in photographs, but rarely get in front of the camera themselves. Trying to embrace our new shape post pregnancy, birthing and breast feeding can be a hard thing. For some more then others. So I wanted to do my little part in changing this. On the weekend I photographed 14 different women with their babes. Some a little older, some still in utero and some very fresh to this world. I wanted to document this season in life for them, to capture the little things their children do right now. The way they reach out for you, the way they twirl your hair when they are tired, and the way they stare at you like you are the only person that exists while feeding. I wanted to document the way these women see their children right now, but I also wanted to document the way that I see them as mothers. Strong, bold and beautiful. Even if motherhood is a mess its still beautiful. Even if you don’t see yourself as beautiful I can promise you that you are the most beautiful person in the world to your children.

But to me photography is more then just documenting all of the above. Its about connecting with people. I get to document the highs and the lows that life throws them, I get to learn from these people and hopefully contribute to their life too. Because we are all in this together, it truly takes a tribe. Some of my clients have become who I know will be life long friends. On Sunday I got to hear these women’s birth stories, their triumphs, current struggles and hopes for them and their children. I don’t say this lightly, but I thank you for sharing a part of your life with me and trusting me with your life stories. I hope when you look at your photographs you remember not only what season of life you were in, but also what a wonderful mother you are.

Not only do these women get life-long memories of them and their children, but they have contributed (financially) to help me complete the next phase of a project I am undertaking. The project is called ‘with women {portrait of a midwife}’. Documenting midwives and women in Papua New Guinea is the next phase. Their stories are vitally important too, so thank you for helping me tell their stories.

(One a side note. I always try to make it as relaxed as possible and allow the children to do whatever they do. So when all one little girl wanted to do was run around the mat, I documented her running around the mat. One of my favourite images from the day is her dad chasing her around the mat. Life unscripted at its best! And I even took some of my own advice and got my assistant to take some images of Scout and I at the end of the day).

 

 

 

 

 

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