The Pregnancy Series | Gelatin Silver Prints | 1997 - 1998
I began the Pregnancy Series during gestation week 14 and ended two days prior to giving birth; I was the “model” in all photographs. As my body began to change, I found my attitude about my body began to change as well. I, like many women, have been overly critical of my body since I was a young girl. My belly was no longer where my extra weight was (a sensual place such as breasts and buttocks). Instead it became the place where a much-desired new soul was gestating. My previous modesty and self-consciousness changed; when unclothed and pregnant, I did not feel naked. On the contrary, I felt extremely empowered as a woman creating life in my womb.
Utilizing my Nikon-f camera, timer and flood lights, I, from the early days of my pregnancy to the end, became the “model” of this work. The photos in the series presented a satirical, yet reverential, look at the gray areas between religion, mythology and pregnancy. Common to all of the images were the archetypes and vessels of human birth, both physical and spiritual.
Always naked, I was the figure, the landscape, ever changing. At other times, I was Rapunzel, Mother Goddess, Kali, Mama Katz (The music group The Mamas and the Papas), Little Red Riding Hood, a figure in the Annunciation, an angel, and the veiled pregnant nude. The pregnant figure became “charged” in these photos. The veiled figure infers the female whose persona and power is diminished by being veiled, but her power as life-giving woman is unflappable. In some of these photos, I questioned the wholesome virginal fairy tale figures. In Rapunzel and some fairy tales, does the expression, “happily ever after” insinuate pregnancy?
Culture and religion attempt to veil a woman’s sexuality, but there is the difficult task in veiling the sexuality of pregnancy. Popular notions of feminine beauty, more so over twenty years ago, came into question when confronted with a pregnant body. This series celebrated the beauty and strength of the pregnant woman and was in many ways visionary to the downturn of suppression of women’s rights to their bodies, their sexuality and their reproductive rights.