With Your Milk Mother: An Exploration of Love & Pain

“With Your Milk Mother” is a documentary photography project and part of a more extensive project titled “Regarding Family.”

Documentary photography is my passion. The exploration of contemporary social issues through photography gives us the opportunity to better understand the world around us.  It can affect social change because it lends a voice to people who are marginalised or hard to reach.

The work explores changes in family structure in the United Kingdom because those family structures are changing quickly.  As a result, the traditional nuclear family is no longer the “norm.”  For instance, single-person households, multi-generational living, same-sex parenting, divorce, remarriage, and cohabitation are common.

As a result, almost half of the children born in the UK in 2017 were born to families that do not fit the nuclear family stereotype.

My subjects are volunteers who agreed to participate because they each have a story to tell.  They were incredibly brave because many of their stories are harrowing. For example, two of my subjects have endured multiple miscarriages.  Others have lost custody of their children as a result of divorce.

Heartbreakingly, one young mother lost her beautiful baby at 3-months old as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Above all my subjects are survivors because they have lived through huge challenges.  As a result, they have emerged stronger.

With Your Milk Mother: Inspiration

“With Your Milk Mother” was inspired by my mother.  Mum is 79-years-old and survived a serious brain injury in her 50’s.  As a result, she now suffers from dementia.  Consequently, I used photography as a means to connect with her in a new way.  Because of the results achieved, I decided to expand the project further.

This meant using photography as a means to connect with members of my wider family in the second part of the project, “Regarding Family.”

The style and aesthetic of the project were inspired to a degree by the work of Mitch Epstein and Nick Waplington.