Beauty is everywhere: portraits of expectant parents sleeping
When Russian documentary photographer Jana Romanova was about 25, suddenly she found that all of her friends were getting pregnant (a familiar feeling for a lot of us!). It felt as though everyone around her was suddenly growing up, and she was at risk of being left behind, as the people around her were consumed with the challenges of preparing for a baby on the way.
The photographer decided to explore her feelings about this change using her art: she told Vice Magazine,
“I kept trying to think of ways to deal with it—ways to get used to it. I slept over at my pregnant friend’s flat one night and, when I woke up, I noticed that the couple were sleeping on the floor. There was a ladder in the flat, so I climbed up and took a picture of them. That picture said something to me about their relationship; the way they were sleeping made them seem very much like a team and extremely disconnected at the same time.”
Fascinated by the results, she got more and more friends to volunteer to be photographed, and got stunning pictures by sleeping at their homes, getting up at 5 or 6am, and tiptoeing up her ladder to snap a few pictures before everyone woke up. Once she had exhausted the list of pregnant friends, she began to recruit other couples online, with the goal of snapping 40 pictures to commemorate the 40 weeks of pregnancy.
The resulting pictures are as un-posed as photography can possibly be (after all, nearly everyone is fast asleep), and remarkably lovely – beautifully framed and lit, they create art out of rumpled sheets and podgy, ordinary bodies. These are families and bodies that look like ours, with hair and stretch-marks, freckles and flab, a toddler sprawled all the way across both parents, a teddy-bear clutched in the arms of a sleeping mom-to-be. Romanova’s art is a stunning reminder of the beauty of everyday bodies, everyday homes, and everyday families, which is easy to forget in a world of airbrushed and posed photography.
Speaking of which: I also love the Monday Mornings series at Mommy Shorts, featuring families photographed in the midst of the bustle and everyday chaos of their morning preparation for work and school. Mommy Shorts blogger Ilana Wiles writes,
“You can find beauty even if someone isn’t a supermodel and their home didn’t come straight out of Elle Decor. There is beauty in small homes, large homes, messy homes, single parent homes and just about any other home you can imagine. There is beauty in a mom rushing around in her pajamas, a mom running off to work with spit-up on her sleeve and a mom waddling around in the last trimester of her pregnancy.
“Our goal is to find the beauty, surprise her with it and make every mother consider their mornings a little differently.”
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