Jenny Lewis is as an editorial photographer for clients such as The Telegraph and The Financial Times. Just recently she’s done a project that’s very different from her daily work. It’s called “One Day Young” and it’s a series of portraits of mothers with their newborn babies. It has just been published by Hoxton Mini Press. The book consists of 40 portraits, selected from 150, of Hackney-based mothers in their homes, within 24 hours of the birth.
The project is based on a simple photography showing authentic people in real life situations. It resembles a Foap mission a bit in a way that the subject of all the photos is clearly defined.
The idea for “One Day Young” emerged after Jenny gave birth to her own son. She wanted to pass on a powerful message that childbirth is a positive experience and nothing to be feared. As Jenny Lewis says, “My aim was to capture the extraordinary bonding, warmth and strength between mother and infant. In fact the whole range of amazing emotions felt at that time, as the mothering instinct kicks in. I find the collection of images defiant and beautiful, challenging the expected vision of those first twenty-four hours, a pure celebration of what it means to be a mother.”
The project took 5 years during which Jenny was looking for Hackney-based mothers who’d agree to be photographed. She managed to find women of different demographics, which were photographed in their own houses. The aim was to show authentic women in their own private spaces during the first moments with their babies.
“One Day Young” was very different from Jenny’s daily job, which is extremely structured and well-organised, as it involves photographing celebrities. It required spontaneity and minimalism in terms of photographic equipment. Jenny was travelling by bike so she used a minimal kit – just her Canon 5D and a tripod in winter for long exposures. She also had to combine her professional career with being a mother and doing a side project, so had limited time for it.
The mothers that were photographed acted as curators of their own identity by picking a spot within their house where they wanted to be photographed. It turned out to be a collaborative process that will also be a wonderful keepsake for the newborns in their future life.
Jenny Lewis has worked as a portrait photographer for the last 15 years. This project shows her true passion for photography and curiosity about the reality around us at the same time. Both are very common for the Foap community, so we hope that it will inspire you to challenge yourself even more.