Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. In Amour Maternal (Maternal love, ed.), French photographer Sabrina Mariez bravely tackles the taboo topic of difficult pregnancies.

“When a woman is pregnant, she is expected, out of conventions, to always appear endlessly grateful. She cannot complain, nor be miserable. She must remain silent, out of fear of being marginalised, or worse, categorised as a deviant”, states Sabrina Mariez. In Amour maternel, the self-taught photographer focuses on pregnancy related distress and suffering. A taboo subject, hardly discussed in society.

The artist has already produced many personal series, inspired by characters and encounters. “I focus on what exists inside of me – quirky characters, sometimes beautiful and sometimes not, sad or happy anti-heroes who immerse me into fantasised and cinematic worlds”, she says. For this project, she turned the lens towards her own history, her own feelings. She lays herself bare, hoping to “help mothers speak openly about this issue” with her surreal sceneries.

Revealing one’s vulnerability

Pronounced grain, pop colours, dreamlike setting… The series takes us into a fantastical universe, where doubts, fears and aches of mothers-to-be resurface. In this psychedelic place, Sabrina Mariez herself – accompanied by a young model – reveals her vulnerability. “The colour red evokes a body’s insides and blood – obviously. Green can be perceived as hope or life”, she explains, then adds: “But it is up to everyone to dive into it and feel for themselves”.

Far from post-partum depression – a topic more wildly discussed – difficult pregnancies are difficult to make sense of. They raise many questions – “Does not feeling any happiness during this time mean that one cannot be a good mother? Can we reduce maternal love to hormones and genetic codes?”, the artist asks. In the pictures, there are no new-borns, only baby dolls. Strange visions representing both the distant link between mother and child, and the need to shape a relation – in spite of everything. In this phantasmagorical world, the protagonists reveal, without fear, their cracks and confront a feeling too often hidden away.

© Sabrina Mariez