Photographer Erin White, in collaboration with a group of courageous breastfeeding mothers, embarked on a mission to challenge societal norms surrounding breastfeeding. Inspired by Stephanie Karr Studios, they aimed to normalize breastfeeding and combat the shame often associated with postpartum bodies. This initiative began in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where White, prompted by the local breastfeeding community, volunteered to capture a group nursing photo. The photo shoot became a space for mothers to share their personal stories of breastfeeding, body image, and loss.
Titled “Women in the Wild,” the project initially featured the Kaiserslautern mothers but expanded to include 51 mothers from around the world. Erin White, with the collaboration of Liliana Taboas and Megan Flanagan, not only photographed the mothers but also included their stories with the images. The response to the project was overwhelming, with an outpouring of emotional emails and comments from mothers globally.h-a-n-h
White expressed that the project goes beyond depicting breastfeeding in public; it addresses intertwined issues faced by mothers—body image and societal perceptions of their feeding choices.h-a-n-h
In the photographs, mothers were encouraged to wear whatever they felt comfortable in, and many chose to wear only their underwear. White believes that this decision allows women everywhere to see a diverse array of real-looking individuals of various shapes, sizes, and ages, fostering relatability. The project aims to confront two interconnected challenges faced by new mothers: body dissatisfaction and public perception of their feeding choices.h-a-n-h
Research suggests a link between body dissatisfaction and a decreased likelihood of breastfeeding, as well as an increased risk of depressive symptoms. “Women in the Wild” serves as a visual narrative, seeking to empower and resonate with mothers globally, challenging stereotypes, and fostering a supportive community.