11 Mothers. 11 Journals.
As a parentless parent Emilie Sandy often questions her own parenting. Society offers a plethora of advice in various forms on how to parent, and with hers no longer around to seek the simplest advice from, she has sought views from other Mothers.
11 Mothers . 11 Journals explores honest reflections of women, through personal journals and documentary photography; capturing individual happiness, sadness, despair, uncertainty, the banal and more.
Throughout this exploration, trusting relationships with each Mother has been built - allowing the freedom to observe their environments in search for moments and objects that represent what family life entails; it is a collaborative process, with significant and poignant experiences. The process itself becomes therapeutic in nature - allowing the Mother and the photographer to reflect on what has been captured - opening up the opportunity to talk openly about motherhood with one-another.
Emilie has had the privilege to share some very intimate and personal moments with the Mothers: she has worked with one of the Mothers since the beginning of her first pregnancy and photographed her second baby at just two hours old. Emilie immediately identified with the scene at the maternity ward: an overnight bag filled with the items made in preparation, big granny pants, and enormous sanitary towels.
“Entering the bathroom, I was transported back to when I soaked in the bath after giving birth to our first child — feeling both exhausted and relieved to be cleansed and resting my body. A beautiful, and natural, juxtaposition with this peaceful state of mind surrounded by the - seemingly brutal - aftermath of birth: small pools of blood and trails of spotting leading to the bath.”
We all have some kind of pre-conceived ideas of what parenthood may look like, or how it works. To some, a child having a tantrum can be deemed as naughty behaviour, whereas it is merely a part of the child’s cognitive and behavioural development - and perfectly normal. The image of the child in mid-tantrum, for example, is an attempt to share a glimpse of the reality of these significant stages of parenthood, to offer reassurance to both existing parents and parents-to-be.
Ultimately, the aim of the project is to offer a truthful insight into the lives and personal feelings of eleven Mothers. It brings with it an open awareness to different aspects of the parenting journey.
Emilie’s ongoing photographic research in to the nature of the parenting journey explores the fundamentals of how families juggle parenting and life in current society, and asks searching questions that investigate the possible effects of increasing pressures and mental health in Mothers.