I received a number of replies all with surprising responses. Enough to know that I should continue on with this project. Some of the mothers who replied to me, I will be following up with to discuss their experiences in more depth.
The final project brief is as follows...
As a young child growing up, my mother had a mental break down that tore my family apart. After this event she never returned to the mother I knew as a child and I had to accept this completely new person, who externally and physically was still my mother, but emotionally was as much as a stranger as anyone else.
After her emotional collapse I was forced to learn to take care of myself and had to grow up seemingly overnight. My mother was no longer able to care for a young child, and I, as a young child, had to care for her. Alone, living with my mother, I witnessed firsthand the emotional and illogical roller coaster her illness caused.
Now, as an adult I’m faced with many questions about mother - child relationships. The biggest one being, why our mothers love us. Is the bond of “love” more than a word, or genetic obligation but of true actionable emotion?
If you are alive today, that means we all experienced the same path of coming into existence. Every human being and creature on this planet has, at some point lived inside another, in complete dependence on their care for survival. Yet none of us remember that journey, none of us have memories of living inside another human for 9 months. It’s a one way perspective. So what happens from the point of gestation to adulthood to the relationship with our mothers? With our mothers relationship to us? Is birth enough of a reason to love and bond?
Science has already proven the nature vs nurture debate, and I think we’ve all been able to witness that through adopted families as well.
So if the mother - child bond is not genetic, then is it a choice? Do mothers love their children because they choose to everyday? Does that mean that the “love” switch can be turned on or off if that child ends up not being what you expected or does something unspeakable.
I don’t know where this journey will take me, but to truly get an in depth and full view, I have to also look behind the curtain. Into the lives of families with littles means, indigenous tribes, the middle class and the affluent, alike. Talking to mother who have lost children and mothers who have chosen to give up a child. All to answer this one question ”Why do mothers love their children?”
I have so many questions on this topic and photography is the way I process the world and emotion. So with my camera in hand, I want to embark on a journey to answer all of these questions and more.
The purpose of The Mother Project is to understand this idea of a mother's love, by taking a documentarian look at mothers and their children, capturing their interactions from all social dynamics and family make ups, in order to understand, witness and hopefully feel what “a mother’s love” truly means.
Donations for this series will help cover expenses throughout the course of this project and funding has been broken up into geographic tiers. Throughout this project I will also record audio interviews with mothers, as well as create a video diary of my journey, thoughts and experiences from each interview. These behind the scenes, in the making, videos will be made available to all donors of this project. At the end of the series, all audio, video and photographs will be put together in a Gallery exposition.