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Visions of Motherhood
Visions of Motherhood
by The Luupe
Photographs and words celebrating the joys and complexities of motherhood, curated by The Luupe.
For the second year in a row, Visions of Motherhood explores the many possibilities of motherhood. The joy of becoming a mother, being a child, the exhilaration of birth, the delight in watching your children grow. And also, the struggle to conceive or the decision not to become a mother.
The following words and images show these nuanced experiences – rich and diverse celebrations, challenges, and perspectives. The many stories that deserve to be told.
"Motherhood is strength and selflessness and beauty, and Taylor embodied all of this to me in this portrait I took of her." - Meagan Shuptar
"Celebrating the last day of Black Breastfeeding week by going through the archives. It's been a hell of a journey and overall it makes me really happy. I feel that is a huge part of celebrating this week. We have to focus on Black joy too. There are stigmas and statistics to overcome but the end game is always joy." - Bri McDaniel aka Moon and Cheeze - originally shared on August 31st, 2021.
"A child is how we remain on Earth; they are our legacies. As I see my son grow I feel my time begin to speed up; I feel my decay. When we think about birth we must realize our death. Motherhood is precious and raw; wonderful and dark." - Jennifer Georgescu
"This photograph was the very last photograph that I made in the house that held so many significant memories of the first year of my daughter's life. Every month I would take a photograph of her in her bassinet on the floor of our bedroom - this was her final one at 11 months. It was bittersweet to photograph her in the completely empty room that used to be where we all slept, played, and got to know each other in." - Julie Rene Jones
"Portraits of Mother and Daughter, Kristian and Khatyllina for my ongoing portrait series about intimate relationships of all kinds, The Things We do To Each Other. Khat was born when Kristian was 19, so there is an element of sisterhood in their relationship, a sense that they grew up together. Here they are, 20 years later." - Anjelica Jardiel
"From my ongoing series, "The Sweetest Love Language," which documents my mother, her mother, and the unspoken love language of fruit. Grounded in tenderness and quiet attention to detail, acts of love through fruit cross all barriers between generations, language, and continents. Fruit says the most with the fewest words, and it's the sweetest love language of all." - Emily Tasaka
"As politicians debate abortion bans, the health risks associated with having a baby in Alabama are only becoming greater. In a state where many boast about a commitment to protect every life, Black women are about five times more likely to die during childbirth than White women. This project documents the people and birth workers trying to shift the narrative." - Bethany Mollenkof, from her ongoing series "Birthing in Bama."
"Katy and MJ from my project 'Mothers and Daughters' - a portrait and interview project, taking a look at the complex, identity framing family relationship." - Jena Cumbo
"We had never intended to homeschool, but through the pandemic we felt it was the best choice and after two years have decided to stick with it, at least a little longer. After a conversation with a friend about how easy it is to edit our lives down to just what we want to show, I decided I wanted to create a portrait of what my life looks like most days. Sometimes, occasionally, there are moments of joy that feel ridiculously beautiful; others it all feels so chaotic, and hard. But most days feel like this, dancing somewhere between the two." - Kate Guy
"The day my late grandmother met my first daughter." - Katie Addo
"I caught my son sleeping. It just happened to look timeless, and for me, priceless." - Diana Nicholette Jeon
"This long-term project centers around Stef, it is a coming of age story about a boy who grows up and develops his own identity. Simultaneously it explores universal concepts of family and offers new representations of queer parenting and family structures. Stef lives with his mothers Danielle and Jeannette, but he regularly spends his weekends and holidays with his dads and foster brothers." - Marlike Marks
"This image is part of a series on self-reflection, interconnectedness, and personal transformation. How I lost my identity to motherhood and post-partum anxiety but built it back stronger as an advocate, an artist, and a caretaker. It also speaks to the potential of the mutual care and mutual respect that can be found in the parent/child relationship." - Jamie Paratore
"Pink's glam maternity photo session shot in Atlanta, GA for a collaboration with KVOZIA & Nine Muses Boutique." - KaVozia Glynn
"Shannon on the farm. Heirloom quilt. Any day now." - Sara Reeves
“Kitchen Haircut: Pandemic Postpartum Edition. In the spring of 2020, the world ground to a halt for many, but mothers were still left to figure out how to meet our basic day-to-day needs. From child care, to grocery shopping, making dinner to basic hair cuts, everything felt almost impossible to acquire in our new normal. Because mothering has always relied on small organized groups to trade essential services and favors, it naturally became the essential lifeline during uncertain times." - Alison Malone
"In this time of cultural turmoil, varying types of separation occurred. In the middle of dissolving relationships, setting new boundaries and creating new routines, the transitions of parenting time, from his house to mine and back again still remain brutal. This window kiss was from the early days of never-ending tears." - Angela Strassheim
"This is a joyful self portrait that also touches upon how identities blend and disappear into your children and your children into you once you become a mother." - Katie Ward
"This image is from an ongoing series of mine titled 'Birthgiver' which examines the struggles of growing up as the child of an alcoholic mother. I am trying to work through my feelings and trauma through photography." - Sadie Sanders
To me, this portrait of designer Jessica Ayromloo (a protégé of Kelly Wearstler), embodies the various roles women shift between our day to day lives, from working professionals to being mothers. Fortunately, the cultural conversation has evolved to a place where we no longer have to compartmentalize these roles. Natasha Lee for Domino Magazine.
"Baby's first summer vacation (aka 'Don't book without seeing photos of room!')" - Christina Hudson
"I started a Motherhood series based on some conversations with friends of mine who are mothers- we talked about the stigma, the hardships and all the judgment women receive in general but even moreso as mothers. I have chosen to not be a mother, and that also has a stigma. This photo is especially sweet because Marie on the left has since passed away making this memory and photoshoot extra precious." - Mira Zaki
"My mother takes out a ruler to point out she is shrinking with age. As my mother is aging I realize I one day will be bringing out that ruler to show my daughter I am shrinking." Mette Lampcov. Malaga, Spain.
"Being a mother runs deep within my soul. These tender moments with my baby fill me with an unmeasurable amount of joy and magical love." - Gretchen Sayers
"Mama taking a moment to herself to pump and scroll, photographed with The Luupe for Cardinal Health" - Tiffany Luong
"A Quick Bite" - Brit Alamillo
"One of my favorite things in the whole world is showing up early and beating the crowd at an event. I really love it so much. It makes me giddy. So every year when we go to the tulip festival, you can bet your ass we are some of the first in line. Then when we are leaving we always pass the longest crowds. It was especially long today because I think it was the last day. But yeah, every time we are leaving and passing the crowds, I get deliriously happy. I just love that feeling. And it was such a beautiful day today." - Bri McDaniel aka Moon and Cheeze
"Motherhood is messy, beautiful, and complicated; it encompasses an identity and it can move beyond genders and gender roles; motherhood a place where you can thrive and reach depths you never knew existed and at the same time it's a place where you can get lost in the darkness and lose yourself. This is a portrait of Max, a trans parent who carried and birthed their child before transitioning. They stated: 'Carrying and giving birth to my child made me a parent, a dad. Motherhood goes beyond genders." - Katie N. Ward
"A celebration of motherhood, during Carnaval's colorful and rhythmic celebration of Latin culture in San Francisco." - Caroline Gutman
"My son and I have a reciprocal relationship, in that as much as he needs my love and affection, I value his as well. He needs tenderness and embraces much more often than I do, but in the moments I need it the most, he provides me with safety, warmth, and comfort. My biggest hope is that he always keeps his gentle, caring heart." - Angela Shaffer
"My son is almost four now, we take baths together,he hides under my skirt, and pulls up my shirt, pretending to nurse. He thinks bodies are funny things that can be squeezed, jumped on and pinched, and seems to sometimes still see mine as his. Motherhood is many things, but it’s the moments of love and closeness like these that I feel like I’ll long for the most." - Anastasia Sierra
"Precious moments..." - Melissa Alcena
"The bigger you grew, the more I struggled and then one day my milk was gone. It was earlier than we both expected and for the past seven days, you have beat my chest, pinched my skin and pushed me harder than anyone has to accept that I am temporarily disappointing you but loving you fiercely in every other way that I can. Our love language is built on these physical moments long before we have the words to understand one another." - Hanna Wolf
"This image is from my series Comfort Zone, which examines intimacy, distance and nurture within my well-rehearsed role as a parentified child. My place in the family as the eldest of five pushed me out of my childhood too fast and left me with the weight of a motherly role, often taking away the play and freedom I saw in my siblings. This work is an act of self nurture that lets me engage with my mom in a new way while revealing lingering dynamics from our past." - Shannon Fisher
"Mothers would often hide in photos to help their children stay still for long exposure times in the Victorian Era. While maybe we don’t need to hold our children still for photographs now we still play vital roles in the lives of our children." - Emily Wall
"My grandma with dragon fruit and calamansi grown in her backyard." - Emily Tasaka
"My Mum in the garden hanging the washing out, 2019." - Sarah Ketelaars
"From the series ‘Volver a casa’ [Returning Home], a portrait of a 23-year-old single mother, Lisamary Rivera, carrying her son, Kenyel Martínez (2) through the wreckage of their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. It was the first time that the boy returned home after the hurricane, so he was asking insistently what had happened, why everything –even his toys– was wet and broken. Nearly five years on, full financial and material recovery remains out of reach for many in the unincorporated US territory, where thousands still live beneath blue tarps as a substitute roof for their homes." - Yadira Hernández-Picó
"This portrait of my mother is part of my series 'En Son Sein' exploring the relationships of women with their breasts through creating sculptures of their breasts according to their testimony. The one for my mother is made a organic wool and is centred around the theme of breastfeeding." - Emma Boittiaux
"This image is from an ongoing series reimagining my grandparents' travels through Europe in the 1950's through old films that I photograph and process digitally to make appear more like a time faded dream rather than the actual event." - Laura Glabman
"My mum has had two eye surgeries in the past 12 weeks to reduce the pressure in her eyes due to glaucoma, and I’ve been taking care of her as she recovers. She’s lost significant vision in one eye which she’ll never get back, but we’re grateful she was able to maintain the vision in her other eye before things progressed.
Here she is holding her eye shields that protect her eyes while she sleeps (which are usually taped to her forehead.)" - Melissa Alcena
"A self-portrait with my daughter in the last month of pregnancy with my son. One part of having a second child I didn’t expect was mourning my relationship with my firstborn, that it would never be just the two of us again." - Kat Schleicher
"For the past five years I've struggled to accept the loss of my fertility due to my breast cancer treatments. The grief is deep, and the pain is real. Water is life, and when I see my son playing in the swimming pool, it reminds me of when he was in my belly and some of my happiest memories." - Anna Rathkopf
"Breastfeeding is said to be the most natural things in the world, but some babies don’t get the memo. Only a few minutes old, my nephew Wilson was one of the stubborn ones; Kathy needed the help of a nurse to convince him." - Julie Fowells
"This image is part of a larger series called Failure to Progress. This was the note written on my medical file as the reason I needed an emergency Cesarean section on May 31, 2021. When my cervix failed to dilate to 10cm I was told my only option was a C-section. My partner would not be allowed into the operating room because I had spiked a fever. This was the hospital's Covid-19 protocol. Devastated and scared, I signed the papers and Henry was born." - Alexa Mazzarello
"Looking at my mom's hands is when I truly realize just how much time has passed. The hands that have loved and cared for my children and I, have changed. I see ridges where they used to me so smooth and her grip is a little less firm than it used to be and yet, how beautiful they are to me." Karene-Isabelle Jean-Baptiste
"One of my twins wearing a very uncomfortable brace in attempts to stop severe scoliosis." - Brenda Spielmann
"Skinship is a Japanese word that describes the skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart relationship between a mother and a child or family. Through an experience of loving touch, a child learns caring for others. Japanese skinship is considered to be important for strengthening the bond of family and also for the child’s healthy development." - Takako Kido
"A very dear friend that became pregnant right after my baby was born. Her journey makes me so happy but also I'm full of nostalgia thinking of myself and my own journey when I look at her. No one ever warmed me about all this nostalgia." - Rebecca Miller
"These photos are part of my long-term project about all the women in my family in Sicily: "Females, a Sicilian story" (2011-ongoing). My sister and my nieces in two moments of deep calm, love and tenderness. "Females is a long-term project made up of fragments, intimate scenes, emotional discoveries, moments of calm or deepness, quiet and introspection. On the background there's Sicily. What started as a personal vision and visual diary evolved into a more universal standpoint, portraying generations evolving over time. Seasons change, bodies transform, and yet something underneath stands still in a poetic and delicate journey" - Text by Maria Teresa Salvati. Photo by Ornella Mazzola
"Frances in her room, creating alone time during the pandemic." - Katherine Sheehan
"An image from an ongoing series of mine titled 'Birthgiver' which examines the struggles of growing up as the child of an alcoholic mother. I am trying to work through my feelings and trauma through photography." - Sadie Sanders
"I don't have children, but through negotiating my fertility over the years, I've found that healing one's inner child is a crucial piece of the motherhood continuum. It's enabled me to fully show up for those I love." - Jess Stephens
"A visual memory of the 'before'. Before a piece of me existed outside of my body. Before I knew what it meant to fiercely love. Before I knew you." - Emily Hlavac Green
"After 12 hours in the car, we made a stop in Grenoble. It was already dusk and we were all very tired. The kids were relieved to get out of the car, not really knowing where they were running to. I ran after them. The boys only stopped after a few minutes, when they saw Hitchcock's shadow. The younger one started dancing, and the older one tried to copy the intriguing character... A brief moment, luckily I managed to capture it. For me, this photo is synonymous with my motherhood. The fatigue, filled with beautiful moments of happiness..." Kinga Zgirska
"In Judaism, we have the concept of the “mikveh”; a ritual purification through the immersion of the body in water. Often performed during moments of transition, the water allows for spiritual cleansing in preparation for a new chapter or cycle. Two hours after this was taken, my water broke and we began the most life-changing new chapter yet." - Yael Nov
"This is my mom with the plants I gave her for her bedroom. I have been obsessively growing and propagating plants since my miscarriage a few years ago. Thinking a lot about motherhood and loss as well as nurturing and growth." - Justine Reyes
"After I had Luna, I could barely walk for the first week. My hormones were raging so intensely I would wake up sobbing in a puddle of sweat. When I took my first assignment at 3 weeks postpartum, milk leaked through my clothes. I was just barely getting the hang of breastfeeding and pumping. I needed more time to learn how to feed and keep a small human alive. And this is basic shit! Parenthood is amazing and so gnarly. This week (originally shared October 29, 2021,) paid family leave was stripped from the Biden spending plan and we are still at zero weeks for paid time off after having a baby. For context, the global average paid maternity leave is 29 weeks; the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks. We have unjustifiably agreed as a country that women can and must just do it all. That's bullshit." - Bethany Mollenkof
"...seasons change, bodies transform, and yet something underneath stands still in a poetic and delicate journey" - Text by Maria Teresa Salvati. Photo by Ornella Mazzola
"In this self-portrait, I wanted to capture some of the daily chaos and stress of raising two young children in a small apartment." - Nicole Busken
"I set out to do something with this image, but this is what happened. It is the most natural and the most I can do do convey how I am feeling at the moment." - Bri McDaniel aka Moon and Cheeze
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Luupe is a one-stop production company that is raising the bar for professional brand imagery on a global scale. With a highly curated and diverse network of professional women and non-binary photo and video creators across 80+ countries around the world, we are reinventing how brands produce original, local, and authentic visual stories that connect with a global audience. Our mission is to champion and amplify diverse perspectives from around the world — in front of and behind the lens.