I’ve always been fascinated by motherhood.
I grew up without my mother, so since ever I was a girl I’ve studied mothers and their children, envious of the easy bond, the magnetic afﬁnity. In awe of what it must be like to have that oneness, that other half, on demand. An unlimited supply of security and place.
For a long time I’ve longed to photograph mothers and their babies in intimate spaces, as this seems to be when we can glimpse the attachment between mothers and their children most strongly. It’s like there are these invisible ribbons, gently tying them together; sparks of belonging, lines of connection that become almost tangible during these quiet moments.
I have a desire and a drive to study that, to document it and celebrate it and acknowledge it for what it is: the most profound yet most basic thing there is.
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I mentioned to a friend I wanted to begin offering these types of sessions – simple sessions where mother’s bathed with their babies, or breastfed their babies, or snuggled with their babies. Brief, low key sessions centred around the story of the simple bond between mother and child. I told her I longed to ﬁnd a mama who understood what I was trying to do and was comfortable with having her images shared.
As fortune would have it, my friend had a loved one visiting from interstate that very weekend. She was in town only two days but she was happy to participate in the trial. So that’s how it came to pass that on a cool Sunday morning in Geelong, Victoria, I found myself hosting Sharelle and her gorgeous daughter Indi in my bathroom. It was one of the most peaceful and serene mornings I’ve enjoyed in a long time. Sharelle and myself chatted like old friends, and as she and her little one splashed and snuggled in the quiet warmth of a bubbly bathtub, I documented.
There was such a rightness about it, creating a keepsake of the soft, familiarity of their connection.
And now I’m hooked.
I feel so compelled to document mothers with their babies. I believe so vehemently that these deeply familiar and instantly recognisable intimate moments are something women should be gifted the chance to have and hold. As well, I know in my core that when the time comes, these are photographs their grown children will ever cherish.
Intimate Motherhood Sessions not only provide an opportunity for mothers to be truly mindful and present with their tiny ones, but they also act as a record, marking a time and a bond incomparable to anything else we’ve had before or will have again.
Witnessing and documenting this most pure and simple mother love is the biggest joy I’ve experienced outside of my own children.
Writing and photography from Michelle McKay.
About Michelle McKay: Michelle is a writer, a poet and a storytelling photographer form Geelong, Victoria. She is also the mamma to two delicious, rambunctious ruffians. In her work, Michelle strives to capture the beautiful, messy glory of every day; documenting life and freezing time, preserving a record of now for the days and generations who follow.
Her aspiration is to make art of the ordinary so that over time, that which now seems mundane and routine will be remembered and cherished. Long after the sleepless nights have ended and toys are no longer littering the living room floor she intends that there will exist a record – a story of love, belonging, connection. A rich and glorious tapestry. A history told in pictures. Website // Instagram // Facebook