39-year-old photographer Reka Nyari portrayed Leah. Leah was abused by her husband, is tattooed and still breastfeeds her baby. How it is presented? Like the Virgin Mary …
A photo shoot can mean the world to a woman. So in the case of Leah, a young mother who was abused by her husband, left him, (almost) tattooed all over her body and nursed her baby. She did not feel beautiful in her body – until the photo shoot with the photographer Reka Nyari .
The Election New Yorker symbolically depicted Leah as the Virgin Mary. But not covered, but completely naked and nursing.
What do the photographer and her model want to say? “She is a mother and a sexually emancipated woman, and there is no reason why these two forces should not co-exist,” the photographer told the DailyMail .
What Reka wanted to prove with her photos: A woman can be a nourishing mother and at the same time a sexual self. The photos capture Leah as a loving mom and show her as it were in her sexuality.
Leah, who breastfeeds her son on the black and white photos, also wants to show with the photos that sexuality and motherhood do not have to be mutually exclusive. These photos will forever remind you. “The project made me feel beautiful again,” Leah explains in the DailyMail. “I was so focused on being a mother that I forgot to be gorgeous.”
Her skin adorned with numerous tattoos, her breasts bulging with breast milk. The young mother shows herself so sexy in the photos – while lovingly holding her baby in her arms.
“I hope that people who look at the photos recognize the message behind it: the naturalness and love of motherhood on the one hand, and the emancipated strength on the other, based on my past,” says Leah.
For more than three years, photographer Reka Nyari has been photographing women who are tattooed on a large scale, capturing their life stories.
When Reka herself gave birth to her daughter, she had the desire to produce a series of photos about sexuality and breastfeeding. Reka noted that in many parts of the world it still seems taboo to nurse his child in public. She wanted to oppose it.
Why the symbol of the Virgin Mary? “It is the ultimate symbol of motherhood and love,” explains Reka. Therefore, she chose the mother of Jesus as a symbol to portray the beautiful, nursing Leah.
Leah became aware of Leah when she saw her photos on Instagram. Photographer promptly asked Leah if she would be interested in participating in her project.
Why was her choice right now on Leah? “She’s heavily tattooed, recently had a baby that still nursed her,” explains Reka. “Leah has a unique life story … she left her husband who abused her and is now a single mother.”
For Reka, the story of the women she portrays is in the foreground: narrative photography. Many of her models have been maltreated or traumatized by her partners.
Before the shoot with Leah, they spent months writing back and forth, wanting to get to know Reka Leah’s life. The reason for this: Every photo story that Reka produces should be authentic, at the same time visually appealing and beautiful. For this, Reka must build a relationship of trust with their models. “I am honored that they open up to me and allow me to share their life story with the world,” explains Reka.
And Rekas predilection for tattooed women? Reka: “There is a story behind every accessory, every symbol, every pose in a photograph, but my models’ story is written in ink on their body …”