Contact sheet: Motherhood | Womanhood
Words and photographs by Megan Hosmer
A doula once told me that women are unique in their ability to flourish in the face of discomfort. Childbirth is one of the most natural and uncomfortable experiences, and only women undergo it. While this strength that all women share is incredible, the ability to bring life into the world is simultaneously used to define women as one identical unit. Some women choose to be mothers, but all women do not share that experience. Female identities are largely defined by cultural constructs of womanhood and motherhood.
The women I photograph are strangers. I photograph women in places that are comfortable and where they feel their identities are accurately represented. This is essential to my work as I want to portray an organic and authentic image of the different lifestyles these women hold. I want to understand the social and individual characteristics that make up their versions of womanhood and motherhood. My goal is to meet and understand a variety of women and the influences motherhood has had on their everyday. Not all women are mothers, but all women are daughters, and the role that their mothers play in their lives shapes the people they become.
The images of different women and experiences displayed as a unified whole is my method of portraying the strength in discomfort that unites women. I work to acknowledge and accept differences while creating a platform for honest connections to be made between subjects. Moreover, I aim to give women agency in how they are portrayed through these images and to show the importance of understanding the social implications of womanhood and motherhood, along with the different ways women utilize their ability to grow from discomfort in the patriarchy.
Contact Sheet is a place for local photographers to share their projects. If you’re interested in submitting, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Megan on Instagram at @mango_megan.