For her book, “One Day Young,” Jenny Lewis portrayed mothers with their babies at home – not 24 hours after birth. The recordings testify to pride, strength and this very special bond between mother and child.
Prior to her first birth, British photographer Jenny Lewis had heard nothing but horror stories about having children. Her anxiety was correspondingly great when labor began. The panic, however, was unnecessary: ”I had two great natural births – a water birth in the hospital and a home birth,” she says in an interview with My Modern Met . She felt called to encourage other women and show them that giving birth is a positive experience that should not be feared.
“Yes, it’s painful, but it’s a positive pain that makes sense and is only part of the journey – a transition ritual on the path to motherhood,” writes Jenny Lewis on her website . The stories of the American midwife Ina May Gaskin also inspired her. Her plan: Taking pictures of mothers and their babies at home within 24 hours after birth – and thus to show the whole range of emotions that are so much stronger than the fear; the extraordinary closeness and warmth between mother and child.
Five years ago, Jenny Lewis began looking for protagonists for her photography project. She distributed leaflets in her neighborhood, London’s Hackney district. She deliberately renounced a casting – all women should be able to participate. After seeing the first pictures on their website, more and more women came forward.
Although Jenny had never met the mothers before, a sense of familiarity immediately arose.
To be received so warmly and openly by the complete strangers has overwhelmed her.
“Her self-confidence and her strength fascinated me, her gaze was focused directly on me: penetrating, protective, full of love and without any inhibitions,” she told Slate .
The portraits of the mothers are the most natural pictures she has ever shot.
“Maternity brings people together, it does not matter how much money or what job you have – you’ve just done a great job, every woman is overjoyed and proud.”
“The serenity and serenity I have experienced in every home has taken me by surprise, you expect chaos, screaming, crying and drama – but in reality you are entering perhaps the most peaceful place on earth.”
Actually, Jenny Lewis wanted to finish the project after six months. Now, five years later, she still photographs mothers – and gets goose bumps again with every picture.
For her illustrated book “One Day Young”, the photographer chose 40 intimate shots from more than 150 portraits.
“The women in these pictures are just themselves. You do not have to prove anything.”
“They just radiate pride and strength.”