There are numerous cultural and social apprehensions surrounding the act of nursing in a public setting that stem from the apparent sexualization of women’s breasts. This body of work grew out of a need to respond to events of the time – in 2007 – when numerous women were chastised for breastfeeding in public or depicting themselves as such online. Years later, this continues to happen and is unfortunately newsworthy each time.
The photographic studio was chosen as the setting of these portraits due to its unique characteristic in straddling the public/private divide. Each mother and child(ren) pairing was deliberately displaced from its usual environment and asked to ‘perform’ this oft-privatized affection publicly and with unbroken eye contact. This was a means of reclaiming the gesture through a portrayal of women empowered and unapologetic in their identities as mothers.
What also stands out are the distinctive and tender ways in which the individuals carry themselves and take up space during nursing. How the children’s bodies are nestled by their mother’s and the beautiful ways in which their limbs grasp at their parent’s warm skin is testament to the fact that feeding a child is natural, normal, and not in the least perverse.
My sincerest gratitude to each woman for their openness to participate and collaborate on this project.
*P. D. A. is the acronym for the sociological term “Public Display of Affection.”
Aimee and Amedeo
Meredith and Gianpaolo
Meridith and Nathan
Pamela and Emma & Corinne
Melissa and Aria
Shira and Temima
Stefani and Xander