Jenny Lewis is a London- based photographer who after having two children of her own decided to start a project that reflects the empowerment of giving birth. Over the course of seven years, she took photographs of new mothers and their babies in the London borough of Hackney within 24 hours of birth.
Lewis says that she wanted to produce a series of images that changed the perception of childbirth from something that produced fear and anxiety to one that would strengthen and inspire women. As a first-time mom-to-be I find her photographs very encouraging! They certainly help me to think of a childbirth as a positive experience and nothing to be feared. I love how beautifully she captures the domestic surroundings of one of the most intimate moments of a woman’s life with true honesty and real intensity.
Jenny’s project, titled “One Day Young”, ultimately became a book containing an edit of 40 portraits.
You can get the book for £12.95 here.
Lewis collected models for the shoot by posting fliers in her neighborhood and made no selection among them, meaning that women of all types appear in her work.
“I wanted to concentrate on the first 24 hours, when a woman’s body is still engulfed by hormones, to capture the unrelenting physicality of the moment, straight from the battlefield,” Lewis says. “Sweat still glistening on the mothers’ skin, the translucent umbilical cord freshly severed, and wide-eyed as the women come to terms with the magnitude of what they have achieved and survived.”
Jenny grew up in Little Clacton, Essex. She moved to Hackney almost 20 years ago. Since then she has made her living as an editorial photographer, but continues to pursue a range of personal work in her spare time. Much of this centres on her experience of living and working in East London.
All images © Jenny Lewis