The Italian word for to give birthis dare alla luce. The literal translation is to give to the light. The poetic words of bringing a child into this world repeated in my mind as I recently spent three months in Italy teaching photography
The Madonna and Child imagery wallpapers both the interior and exterior landscapes of Italy. The Madonna is so commonplace that I even met her in most restrooms. She is depicted with her baby boy and in many scenarios, she is breastfeeding him.
Coming from the United States, this was groundbreaking. As a breastfeeding mother, it is challenging and tiresome to constantly keep things under wraps. Breastfeeding is something you are supposed to do behind closed doors in the privacy of your home. As a working mother, this is impossible. It is also something I have never wanted to choose between. I want to work and breastfeed.
I began to explore the idea of what the breastfeeding Madonna would look like now. How and where would she find the space and time to nurture and feed her child? Would she always look so elegant or would there be mess?
As I breastfed and carried my family across Italy, I photographed the late nights and bright days as a mother- the spaces I found to breastfeed, work and nurture my family. I shot the homes that are shifting with travel, but that you are constantly recreating for your family to feel safe and loved. Dare alla luce reverberated in my head as my camera sought the light around the children I brought into this world.