Like the Waves Appear and Disappear and Appear Again

An bloody birth, the first separation from my body. The pain seems appropriate. The end of a unit, the beginning of the beginning. The second heart no longer beats inside me, it is outside. Outside in the world. Who am I, as a mother?

My body, fused with new life. Two hearts beating inside me, one strong and calm, the other furiously fast and full of energy. No one is that close. Host and creator at the same time. A feeling that the old me is fading. I pass through a thin veil - a transition from the woman I am before to the woman I am becoming.

For all of us, a woman's body is the place of our origin, where we were carried and born. This universal experience connects us, even if we cannot remember. But what is it like to become a mother? Real motherhood, a theme deeply rooted in art, has long been idealized, shaped, and interpreted from a male perspective. Recent works offer glimpses of authentic motherhood, especially from the mother's viewpoint. Despite its existential societal relevance, motherhood remains a marginalized, private topic.

For three years, I accompany my transformation into motherhood in my work 'Like the Waves Appear and Disappear and Appear Again.' Two pregnancies, two births. Moments of everyday intimacy and physicality, a glimpse into the private, self-reflection. A closer look on bodies on which time passes. It is an attempt to find a visual language for my personal experience of matrescence and to add new facets to a traditional ideal image. It's a realistic portrayal of a mother, a growing family. Intense, with highs and lows, and ambivalent feelings.

Like the Waves Appear and Disappear and Appear Again is a series of 35 photographs and was self-published in a photography book, along with a very personal, diary-like essay that I wrote during this time. This book is shortlisted for the Dummy Award 2024 and the series was first exhibited in Hamburg in summer 2023. The complete work, exhibition views and images of the book can be found on my website: https://www.teresapistorius.com/likethewavesappear