Wow. Is that even the right word? When I came up with this idea last year, I wasn’t exactly sure where it would take me. But I had a hunch and I knew I had to jump on it. If there’s one thing God has blessed me with, it’s passion and instinct.
I knew years ago that I wanted to really open people’s eyes with my photography. I wanted them to feel something when they looked at it. I wanted them to think. I wanted them to appreciate life more because of it. I don’t know if it’s the same way for everyone else who’s ever had a dream, but for me, this project felt like a calling, and as with all callings, everything just unfolded in the most perfectly unexpected way. #PBAP2014 was meant to be.
If you’re just now catching up on what this project is all about, I urge you to read this post, which explains how my project came to fruition. The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project has now been featured on the news, Cafemom, The Huffington Post, Babycenter, Elite Daily, Best Daily, Redbook, evrystry, Parent Dish and Light Inspired. It will also soon be featured on KellyMom and Midwifery Today. I am thrilled to see so many people latch on to my vision. I am thankful for all the photographers that participated this year, to the magazines and news sources that presented my project with integrity to its purpose, and the friends and family who have lifted me up and encouraged me throughout the last few weeks.
Again I will state my vision for this project. I kicked off World Breastfeeding Week with a group image of breastfeeding mothers in Butler Park, and a quote from Margaret Mead which says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Boy did we prove that right. I hope to continue to inspire moms to feel more confident breastfeeding in public rather than hiding in restrooms, or worse, at home. Both by showing that breastfeeding happens in real life and by supporting it when we turn our head in the grocery store and see it happening right in front of us. This project will continue to grow, because we have some serious barriers to break down: a) that the female body is sexual, not functional b) that breastfeeding mothers are flaunting themselves in public unless they are cloaked and c) the great divide between mothers who have not had successful breastfeeding journeys and those that have. We must all work together, especially as a community of women. We stand in our own way – with regards to so many issues beyond public breastfeeding – when we allow our insecurities to get the best of us.
Here are the photos from my sessions for PBAP2014. Thank you Terra Toys and Genuine Joe’s Coffeehouse for their hospitality and for welcoming myself and these breastfeeding mothers with open arms and loads of support for our cause. We also photographed in Butler Park and behind the Dougherty Arts Center, which always has a fun mural to offer as a backdrop. Last, thanks to Time Warner Cable for allowing me to follow around an employee who pumps on the job!
You can check out the next photographer in the PBAP blog circle: Cedar Rapids, Iowa Wedding and Portrait Photographer Amanda Dee!