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VIDEO: How motherhood changes us

Norwegian photographer Marie Sjøvold's profoundly personal series explores her biology and identity after giving birth to her first child

At the Nordic Lights Festival in Kristiansund, Marie Sjøvold exhibited her new series, Midnight Milk, a personal exploration of her own pregnancy – how becoming a mother for the first time, and witnessing the slow death of her grandmother to Alzheimer’s, fundamentally changed the contours of her life.

“The stage for motherhood is set long before a child is born,” says Sjøvold in a filmed interview with BJP. Using her own body as subject, Midnight Milk builds on her previous project Dust Catches Light, exploring with an unflinching honesty how the sudden breathing, needful presence of her daughter challenged and changed her sense of independent self.

Sjøvold interviewed a lot of different women about their experiences of motherhood before she began Midnight Milk. “There was one thing in common,” says Sjøvold. “This ambivalence and conflict about the new role of motherhood, this changing of roles, this new responsibility, the new state of mind of motherhood.

“You go from being an individual to being part of a family,” Sjøvold says. “It’s a whole new life. But this conflict comes from your past, your own childhood, from society, from what people expect from themselves. And then, of course, you have to deal with your biology.”

Marie Sjøvold was one of 12 photographers selected for the European Photo Exhibition Award. Midnight Milk will be released this fall on Journal Publisher. 

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