A Lithuanian photographer has paid tribute to all the moms out there by dedicating an entire shoot for them.
Vaida Razmislavičė photographed 33 women for her project “Becoming A Mother,” with all the photos taken before and after the ladies gave birth to their first child, focusing on their eyes in particular.
The aim of the project was to show how a woman changes after becoming a mother.
“For this project, I chose a very simple format, as if I was taking passport photos,” Vaida said. “I wanted to highlight my models’ gaze, taking away everything that would interfere with it (i.e. the belly).”
“Motherhood is a deep experience, filled with joy, pain, exhaustion, and love,” she added. “When a woman becomes a mom, she really feels her inner energy; her intuition becomes stronger, and her wisdom reaches new heights.”
Speaking to Bored Panda, Vaida revealed how she also went through these changes after giving birth. “Before my firstborn, my idea of motherhood was very different,” she said.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel the motherhood instinct when I first took him into my arms. I’ve learned everything along the way, including ignoring old know-it-all’s and growing the courage to trust my own decisions.”
“I came up with the idea for this project when meeting people who thought of a newborn as some sort of obstacle to the parents,” she said. “I wanted to show that it’s possible to continue living in harmony even after having a baby.”
The photographer said the project gave her so much satisfaction that it ‘ended up healing’ herself.
“In a way, with this project, I ended up healing myself,” she said. “Looking directly into these women’s eyes, I relived giving birth to my first son. All of the traumas and fears that I locked somewhere inside myself came back, only to vanish in the process.
“I realized the journey I’ve been on as a mother. The fruits that I’m reaping today now that my boys are almost all grown up.”
“I took my time before making this project public,” Vaida added. “I would turn on these photos every day, however, it felt like it wasn’t the right time. It was as if the series was waiting for its own birth. I had to stop criticizing myself over it. This period was a lot like the time when you’re waiting for someone to be born.
“And it was over the same way, too: you can’t control it, you just have to let go and believe that it will happen when it needs to.”
After the project was released, Vaida was criticized for making the before and after images differ from each other by post production. Vaida, however, insists that the post production phase was a small part of her project and it didn’t alter the results significantly.
“At first, I was worried about the lighting,” she explained. “I took the before and after photos in different studios (I used whatever spaces I could get) and even thought I could’ve faked the first batch of portraits, I didn’t want to do it.
“For this project, I used only natural lighting and because of my lack of experience I forgot that the angle of sunlight in summer and winter are different.
“Also, things like reflections and the number of windows came into play. I retouched only very little details in post production, though. Now, if I could do it all over again, I’d use artificial lighting, trying to maintain the same conditions for every shoot.”
Vaida is thankful to all of the 33 participants for many things, including their patience.
The models featured in the project gave birth to 20 boys and 16 girls, including three pairs of twins. Some of the 36 kids have even celebrated their first birthday.