In a bid to create more realistic imagery of breastfeeding, Suzie Blake created her photo project What Does Breastfeeding Look Like? by taking candid pictures of mothers breastfeeding in natural settings.
Blake's photos are "about portraying breastfeeding in all its beautiful messiness", Blake said in a statement about her art. “They are about tired eyes and no makeup. They are about milk leaks and ratty hair.
“This project is about giving in to all the demands of your 2-year-old while you try to feed your newborn. This is about dishes piled up in the kitchen and dirty laundry building in the corner. This is about puke on your shoulder and toys on the floor.”
“When I was feeding my second son, 6-month-old Xavier, I decided to take a self-portrait and post it on Facebook to see if other women would be interested in being photographed in the same way. I was inundated with responses, and so the project began.” – Suzie Blake
"One of the reasons women don’t take up or continue breastfeeding is because they have never seen another woman breastfeeding. I’m all for celebrities and the media advocating breastfeeding, but an airbrushed, photoshopped image of a woman breastfeeding is not realistic and just presents another challenge for women who may be trying to breastfeed.
"They’re going to think ‘I don’t look like her’, which is unhelpful. Women who are trying to breastfeed need to see images and think 'I can identify with that'." – Suzie Blake
"I would like all people to recognise that breastfeeding is the norm. We are a mammalian species designed to feed our babies breast milk. The benefits of breastfeeding are huge and all the scientific studies assert that we and future generations will reap the benefits if breastfeeding is commonplace. Mothers need to feel supported by their family, friends, and society at large." – Suzie Blake
"Breastfeeding is a massive global health issue and one we need to tackle. In order to help women we need to empower them. Breastfeeding is hard. This is about the amazing thing that we, the women humans of this earth, can do, and that is sustain another human's life with our own." – Suzie Blake
Blake will be returning to the UK at the end of November and photographing British mothers.
You can pledge your support by heading to her campaign here.