Those Who Raised Us - PhMuseum

Those Who Raised Us

Denisse Ariana Pérez

2020 - Ongoing

In this collection of images titled “Those Who Raised Us,” I explore concepts of childhood, upbringing, gender, rejection, and acceptance within family structures.

In the first part of this photographic series titled "A Mother's Lap," I reached out to young mothers and asked them to pose with their babies and me in their homes.

I wanted to use the photographic process as a space for emotional release and healing. At first, I posed distanced from the mothers and their children. I witnessed while being beside them, yet not directly interacting with their dynamic, what it felt like to be a baby who was shown affection and love by their mother. I could experience that feeling I did not have in my own childhood vicariously through them. It was both heartbreaking and beautiful.

In the subsequent images, I allowed myself to become the baby on a mother’s lap, and let them caress me just as they would caress their own babies, in the hope that with their warmth and maternal instinct they would slowly comfort me and help me heal my wound of rejection from my own mother.

In the second photographic series, I continued exploring family dynamics of acceptance and rejection and asked two queer individuals to incarnate some of the members of their family who had profoundly influenced them in their lives, be it in positive and negative ways. The people in these photos are merely dressing up in their family member’s garments, but embodying their character and their essence, and at times mourning their loss.

In the third series, I focused on a story of pure maternal acceptance as I captured a young woman and the two women who raised her, her mother and her best friend. An example of how alternative communities, not just blood-related family, can help nurture children throughout their lives.

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  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • A Mother's Lap.

    "Giving birth a mother does not make.
    There is no pain like the pain of being unloved by the womb that was once our only shelter. Many fathers, like my father, had to learn to become mothers. But, no matter how hard they might have tried to compensate for that missing part, there is a longing that never seems to go away.
    I'm not an organ, my mother still lives and breathes and screams, but I have always felt and will most likely always feel motherless."

  • Those Who Raised Us. Abel as their Grandmother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Abel as their Grandmother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Abel as their Mother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Ricard as their Grandmother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Ricard as their Grandmother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Ricard as their Grandmother.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Ricard as their Grandfather.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Ricard as their Grandfather.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.

  • Those Who Raised Us. Her Mothers.


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