Photography Dialogica: the double face of motherhood

Dialogica: the double face of motherhood

Laura Tota

Motherhood is one of the most delicate moments in a woman’s life: her whole life is preparing to change, without having any certainty of how it will be.

Insecurities, fears, anxieties and fear of not being up to expectations are just some of the emotions experienced by those who are about to give birth to a child, emotions that are often hidden for guilt and fear of differing from a dominant narrative of motherhood that depict it as a moment of happiness and absolute joy.

Yet the news and current events tell us that this is not always true. More and more women who recognize themselves in the role of mothers report states of depression, confusion, ambivalent and conflicting feelings with regard to pregnancy and birth.

On the day that celebrates Mother’s Day it is very important to talk about it and highlight how, once again, photography is able to turn the spotlight on current and extremely important issues.


Impossible not to mention “eyemamaproject”, the project of to the homonymous Instagram account that during the pandemic opened the doors and welcomed the stories of mothers photographer ready to witness with their works the complexity of this stage of their lives: the concept of motherhood is investigated in many ways, without ethnic, sexual or cultural barriers. Here they find voice mothers who have lost a child or have adopted one or more of them, who are a single or divorced parent. And so we come across tired faces, messy houses, bloody breasts because of breastfeeding or exhausted bodies, but also smiles, moments of tenderness, welcome and serenity. Because being a mother is exactly that at the same time.

“Eyemamaproject” is today a book, the result of an open call that collected more than 2700 applications from around the world.

As Karni Arieli, founder of the project, says This is a project to empower mamas worldwide, give visibility to mama artists and share their stories of motherhood light and dark.To allow women and non binary mamas to be supported and to shine a light on the work that is care. In the book we feature 200 photographers who identify as mamas worldwide.sharing their personal truths of motherhood home and care. We have a jury of worldwide incredible photo women including Elinor Carucci Sarah Leen Aldeide Delgado Ana Casas Broda and many more. We will launch the book in London and Bristol, in the month dedicated to mothers.

The book can be purchased in preorder here.

On the same line, but with a strong interconnection between image and word, moves “Germoglio”, the unpublished work by Chiara Cunzolo, an Italian photographer engaged in social issues related to diversity. However, there is no trace of documentation in her works, but rather an evocative search, able to speak about the world without representing it with the common immediacy.

Her practice literally brings the viewer closer through shots of details, in which  the lights and shadows of often controversial social issues often emerge (formally and metaphorically). Chiara listens to the stories of those who daily experience diversity and suffer its consequences, elaborating their voices, words and emotions and translates them into images: thus, from the object of investigation, those who tell becomes the subject of the image, protagonist of a no longer caged in itself story, but shared and given to the world.

The theme of motherhood, dramatically in the limelight in the daily news, is questioned, stripped of the aura of happiness and joy socially imposed to show itself in all its fragility and banality: only bodies, interweaving of skin and microscopic and fragile bodies, fearful looks, scars and fatigue that told a true love that, like all loves, is also suffering, sacrifice and courage. To accompany the images, the true, pungent, raw and unfiltered words told by mothers who live every day the apparent and ambivalent state of grace of those who gave birth to a life and that are overwhelmed by it (“The first time he turned around hearing my voice and the grandparents said “when he hears you his eyes light up” I wondered how it was possible that he had become attached to me, the same one who addressed him 90% with offenses”). 

Evocative images are put in dialogue with those of a Nature that, although generating life, often hides pitfalls and dark passages in which it is necessary to go deeper in order to continue on your way.

Chiara Cunzolo
Written by Laura Tota
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