Photographing The Stories and Struggles of Maternal Health in The American South

Bethany Mollenkof visualizes the many stories of women working to protect the reproductive health and rights of women in the United States. 

Reproduction rights, childbirth, healthcare and maternal support in the United States are forever contentious, particularly in the American South. And, as politicians continue to debate abortion bans, the health risks associated with having a baby increase.

These issues are at the heart of Luupe photographer Bethany Mollenkof’s series Birthing in Bama and Abortion in Mississippi. Supported by a Women Photograph grant, Birthing in Bama documents Alabama’s renewed midwifery movement through Black home-birth advocates, looking at the experiences and histories of Black women, and how race and class impact treatment and disparities. Abortion in Mississippi, a story she photographed for The New York Times in 2019 asks: “What does abortion access look like in Mississippi, a state with one abortion clinic?”

We speak with Mollenkof about how she uses photography to amplify the women and birth workers pushing to shift these narratives

Unpacking and Photographing the World’s Shared Stories of School Lunch

Lucy Schaeffer’s new book “School Lunch” pairs photos and stories of school lunch from everyday strangers, family, and celebrities. 

School Lunch: Unpacking Our Shared Stories was born with my “mom brain” combined with my “photographer brain,” Lucy Schaeffer writes. In 2016, Schaeffer, agonizing over her own kids lunchboxes while fascinated by the school lunch patterns of previous generations, began a journey to photograph the wide swathe of experiences around preparing and packing lunch.

The New York City-based photographer began interviewing her friends, family, Lyft drivers, celebrity chefs…anyone who would give her some time, about their experiences. She enlisted food stylist Chris Basrsh and prop stylist Martha Bernabe to help her recreate the meals while scouring the internet for vintage props, lunchboxes and other ephemera to match the food and stories.

Four years later, her collection of experiences culminates in a heartwarming and diverse book that the photographer says, “makes me feel a bit better about humanity.”

We speak with Schaeffer to learn more.

11 Fashion Brands Doing Body Positivity Right

These brands bring body positivity to a new level, creating sustainable, inclusive clothing for people of all sizes.

Body positivity is more than a buzzword. It has a range of origins and cultural roots dating back to the fat acceptance movement of the 1960s. Over the past decade, it’s picked up momentum with brands championing similar themes in their own campaigns.

While some brands have been criticized for turning body positivity into performative marketing strategy, there is a major victory in people of all sizes being able to see themselves represented in media through their favorite brands. Still, some companies have worked earnestly to bring the true message of body positivity to their customers.

Let’s look at the brands who are actively reshaping and celebrating people of all sizes.

100 Visions of Fatherhood

A collection of photographs by women and non-binary photographers exploring the many layers of fatherhood, curated by The Luupe. 

For many of us, Father’s Day is a joyful time to express love for our dads. For being there, listening, and having our backs. For others – those who grew up without a dad, experienced loss, or endured difficult relationships, it’s complicated. And as notions of masculinity continue to evolve, Father’s Day is an opportunity to reimagine the potential of what it means to be a dad.

Acknowledging its many angles, as we did for mother’s day, we invited our community  to share their stories of fatherhood through joy, love, and the many grays. Thanks for looking.

A New Photo Series Celebrates People of Marginalized Genders in NYC’s Music Scene

New York City photographer Rachel Cabitt’s portraits highlight inequity in the music industry, and the potential for change.

In 2019, responding to a rise in public reports of misogyny and gender discrimination in the music industry, photographer Rachel Cabitt began Positions of Power, an ongoing series of portraits of people of marginalized genders in leadership roles in New York City’s music scene. From owners to managers, directors, and bookers, Cabitt’s portraits focus on their presence – and often vulnerability. Positions of Power is in an attempt to show their power despite their limited numbers.

Cabitt photographs with a large-format camera, often from a distance, with a spotlight and soft focus to highlight the tension between power and isolation. Her portraits illuminate those who are statistically at the highest risk to experience assault and toxic behavior within venues but have the power to stop it. Ultimately, she poses the question: “could strength in numbers do more to create change?”

We speak with Cabitt to learn more about the series and its evolution through the pandemic.