As family photographers, Aimee and Jenna Hobbs noticed a trend developing in recent years.
“More and more mamas either were choosing not to participate in their family pictures or were participating in the session, but when it came time to select images, they weren’t choosing any with them in the frame,” Aimee told HuffPost. “It broke our hearts to see moms effectively removing themselves from the visual narrative of their family, whether intentionally or unintentionally.”
In response to this phenomenon, the photographers created a mom-focused series called “A Mother’s Beauty,” which showcases women in a raw and vulnerable yet empowering state.
“We wanted to capture a real mother’s beauty,” Jenna told HuffPost. “So often portrayed in media is the pressure for mothers to ‘get their pre-baby bodies back.’ We wanted to stop and celebrate women, as they were ― whether they had a baby four weeks prior to the photo sessions or 14 years prior.”
She added, “Childbirth and motherhood change us, physically and emotionally. It leaves scars and changes our shapes and mindsets. We wanted to not only capture that, but celebrate it, because it really is an amazing thing mothers are.”
Aimee and Jenna are sisters-in-law, and both have children. Aimee has a 7-year-old and 8-year-old son, as well as two adult stepchildren. Jenna has 2-year-old boy-and-girl twins, two daughters ages 7 and 4, and is currently pregnant with her fifth child.
To find subjects for A Mother’s Beauty, the photographers put out a call for volunteers. Each summer, they photograph about 15 mothers ― some on their own and some with their children or older female relatives. They also interview the moms and share their stories when they post the photos online.
“When we’re photographing these sessions, we’ve learned that yes, the experience of being photographed from a place of love and empowerment in a way that really shows your vulnerability and strength definitely has a direct impact for the mamas who participate,” Aimee told HuffPost. “That was what we hoped to accomplish when we set out ― that we would be able to show a handful of women the beauty in their ‘imperfections’ and help them in some small way.”
Aimee added that she hopes the series touches other moms and inspires a sense of self-love in them. As for other people who see the photos, she hopes they broaden their perspective on what “beautiful” is and embrace the many shapes and sizes of women.
“The more people see something, the more normal it becomes,” she said.
Jenna echoed Aimee’s sentiments. She told HuffPost she wants the photos to make the participants feel beautiful and empowered in their own skin.
“I hope they know that motherhood has changed them for the better ― that they are enough,” she said.
“For those that see the photos, I hope that they see true beauty in these women, and see themselves,” she added. “Possibly the same shape, the same scars, the way they kiss and hold their babies. If they can see beauty in the mother in the photograph, perhaps they can see beauty in themselves, too. A mother’s beauty.”