You can read more about Laura's Slow Photography Movement project here but the basic premise is to spend a few weeks working on one idea, developing it and thinking about the background, what you want to convey and as Laura puts it, getting Art Wanky rather than just churning out photo after photo. Slowing down and putting #artoveralgorithm.
The first topic was Self. My original idea was something I'd already been wanting to do which was taking an old photo of myself as a toddler, where I really looked a lot like my son Kalyan, and trying to take a similar photo of him to post along side it. Seeing my self in my kids (much less scary than taking a self portrait). I did take some of both of the twins with certain photos of myself in mind but I've yet to edit any as it's been a tough few weeks in the bexphoto household with various illnesses and my sore throat that JUST WON'T GO AWAY!
Ahem, anyway, I shot some photos for my original idea ages ago but as I'm scraping by on minimal energy, I just haven't thought much about this project since the beginning to be honest. I'm also quite aware of the fact mine is nowhere near as deep and profound as some of the amazing projects I've seen so far shared in the Facebook group of fellow participants. Laura will be sharing some on her website soon so keep your eyes peeled if you want to see more from the others (and check out the Instagram page too).
Instead of my initial idea, I was inspired by a photo I saw in the Shoot & Share contest I'm obsessed with voting in! (Seriously, it's all that's kept me going these last few weeks. When I find out who took it I will link to it in here.) It was an amazing B&W photo of a tummy with stretch marks and children's hands touching it. It reminded me of Laura's children's hands on her in her project photo as well.
A while ago, before this project, I had tried to take a self portrait of my belly with stretch marks and it was a disaster. I hated the results and couldn't get the angle or focusing right so I wanted to try again this time with the twins involved so before my shower this afternoon I laid down on the landing, in the only patch of light we get upstairs late in the day, and asked them to help me.
I have mixed feelings about my belly these days. I actually quite like my stretch marks. They are the proof of the amazing feat my body did in carrying and growing two humans at the same time for 37 weeks. I loved my bump and the 2nd half of my pregnancy. My struggles came after, when I was horrendously lonely and felt very cut off from me "before". I found it hard to interact with my old friends the way I used to while struggling mainly alone with two babies (we moved 450 miles when 6 months pregnant) and it was making me a bit paranoid. So my stretch marks remind me of one of the happiest times of my life, being pregnant after IVF.
However I do hate the way it hangs when I stand up!
Anyway, I tried to get them to lay next to me and rest their heads on my side while touching my belly. K soon gave up but I got a few I liked. I didn't want them to be the same as the one I'd seen and I think I succeeded ( although they're certainly not as good) but I'm glad I recorded them playing with my belly, the way they actually often do. They don't care how it hangs or how squidgy it now is, nor the slightly funny texture and tiger stripes. They giggle and play and tickle my belly button and love it when I tell them they used to be inside there. Priya sometimes asks to go back in 😳
So here is my "self", the new me after twins. A bit less worried about how my belly looks and thrilled it stretched so much to keep my two babies safely inside. I hold my babies tight when they squish and prod me and I tell them proudly what my body managed to do in the end after failing me before and during the IVF. Quite frankly, they don't care a dot what it looks like as long as I let them squish me! Oh and I'm working on being less worried about the friendship thing now too after I got very down about it. I have just let go of the friendships that were making me sad and am concentrating on the few that keep me sane in this madness of motherhood.