Local photographer Leah Hawker is using her lens to highlight the realities of breastfeeding in South Africa.
Her recently launched project, Breastfeeding 101, featuring stark images of a diverse group of one hundred and one South African women proudly and publicly breastfeeding.
Leah presents her image alongside the real-life accounts of public breastfeeding as told by the women featured.
"I connected these mothers by returning to the principles of the "oral tradition": the art of passing information and knowledge between individuals, personally," Leah says, explaining that "the project unfurled organically."
"In May 2016, I sent off two text messages to my cousins, both new mothers. I asked them to share my idea about the project with the mothers that they knew."
Leah says it didn't take long before she'd interviewed and photographed 101 women.
"As soon as I connected with a new Mother, I would begin to set up a shoot and interview. I placed each mother and child in public locations that were as diverse as possible. I continued meeting with and documenting mothers until I reached my target number of 101."
Breastfeeding 101 will be exhibited this Women's Day at the President Hotel in Cape Town where the photographer will be leading discussion sessions on women's issues, identity and modern-day gender roles.
Of why she chose to tackle the topic, Leah says:
"This was an important project to me because the subject is a central axis for current debates and highlights the current influences and outside factors affecting women, breastfeeding and infant health."
For more about Breastfeeding visit: www.breastfeeding101.co.za
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