This series originated as a personal record of my early experience as a mother after I gave birth to my daughter and took a photograph of the oddly sparse room I pumped in at the College where I teach. A few years later, realizing the relationship of this image to my other work as an exploration of space, I decided to expand the project to create an unconventional portrait of motherhood. Lactation rooms embody deeply felt, subjective experiences of motherhood. Symbolically and materially, expressed milk simulates physical and emotional intimacy when mother and child are separated. These little-known and commonly unseen interiors offer insight into women’s personal experiences, the maternal body’s status in the workplace, and fundamental socio-political issues pertaining to the family.
Any investigation of lactation rooms must acknowledge the absence of policy for mandated paid maternity leave in America. Through my images I endeavor to help normalize pumping, create a public discourse concerning the politics of care, and highlight the importance of women’s voices/visibility. The photographs are named for the diverse professions of the pumping women. The solitary pumping rooms take on collective power through the accumulation of photographs.
Milk Factory is an ongoing project. If you have an interesting pumping space that you would like me to photograph please contact me: email@example.com
Each participant is given an 8” x 10” photo.