PURE. Proud young mothers
When a young woman 16 to 22 years old decides to keep her baby, who are we to judge and disapprove of her choice? She chose LIFE. With creating the photo series PUUR. Trotse tienermoeders (PURE. Proud Teenmoms) in 2009 I wanted to create a change in the way people think about becoming a parent at a young age.
All portraits are 100% Photoshop free, showing pure and natural bodies of women who are pregnant or mother, or both. Skin marks, striae, zits, all is unretouched. I want to show the purity of motherhood. In my work I like to focus on the beauty of our world and the people living in it, to me it’s the purerst of the purest choices ever to be made: (Yes) I am having a baby.
A social health workers noticed a change after the women posed in my studio: “They seem more mature, more certain of their choice, and proud as any mother can be. We see a positive change in them that’s here to stay. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
In the Netherlands being a teenmom is the real last taboo. Our country holds the world record of oldest ‘first time mothers’ in the world, with an average of nearly 30 years old when having a baby for the first time. Mother Nature AND many docters advice 21-25 as best age to become a mother. With almost the lowest numbers in the world in teenage pregnancy, young mothers in the Netherlands are still rejected and prejudiced.
I took 75 portraits of young mothers and created a photobook including interviews with 10 of the mothers. When the book sold out I designed two Pure books, with the focus of the second book PURE 2 on handwritten stories by the mothers. They proudly wrote down - in Dutch - how they feel about being a mother. These Blurb books are still available worldwide, including e-books.