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Celebrating Motherhood - One Day Young by Jenny Lewis

7 years ago

Jenny Lewis was part of the World Photography Organisation's Meet & Critique evening in the summer of 2015 at theprintspace in Shoreditch, London. The evening consisted of group critiquing, networking and food and wine, led by the British Journal of Photography’s long time editor Simon Bainbridge. 

Jenny has worked as a portrait photographer in the UK and internationally for the last 16 years, moving between celebrity photography on the covers of magazines such as The Telegraph to working with the Beastie Boys in New York. Jenny continues to work for her editorial clients but also works on personal work such as her 'One Day Young' series and current exploration of the creative spaces and personalities in her community in the 'Hackney Studio' project.

Below she explains the thinking behind her series 'One Day Young', which is published by Hoxton Mini Press.


"It’s really quite simple — I wanted to tell a story about the strength and resilience of women post-childbirth that I feel goes largely unacknowledged in today’s world.

To reassure women that childbirth is ok; yes it’s painful but it is a positive pain, one that has purpose and is just part of the journey, a rite of passage into motherhood.

I wanted to make visible other emotions that are far more powerful: the joy, the overwhelming love and the triumphant victory every new mother feels. In my mind this is the supportive message we should be passing on to future generations rather than paralysing them with fear.

Very early on in the project I knew I wanted to concentrate on the first twenty-four hours, when a woman’s body is engulfed by hormones, to capture the unrelenting physicality of the moment, straight from the battlefield. Sweat still glistening on the mothers’ skin, the translucent umbilical cord, freshly severed, and wide-eyed wonder as the women come to terms with the magnitude of what they have achieved and survived.

I leafleted Hackney, the borough where I live to find my recruits. I was clear I did not want to cast people on looks, age, race or class — but to include all who responded. As the series developed over the past five years, the mantra of calm running through the images was impossible to ignore. I find the collection of images quite defiant and beautiful, challenging the expected vision of those first twenty-four hours, a pure celebration of what it means to be a mother."

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