When cutting-edge portrait photographer and documentarian Ali Smith set out to explore contemporary motherhood, she was determined to capture not only its great joys but its conflicts, compromises, messiness, and unpredictable mix of emotions—and to allow a wide range of fascinating women to tell their stories in their own voices. The result is a cinematic blend of Smith’s bold photography and the enthralling words of real women caught in the midst of real life at its most intense.
Among the mothers you’ll meet in Momma Love are Oscar-nominated actress Amy Ryan, who talks about being a mother in image-obsessed Hollywood; rock musician Alyson Palmer, who has taken both of her children on tour for years for what she calls “road schooling”; and Deborah Kopaken Cogan, who traded her harrowing life as a war photographer for the challenges of motherhood—enduring criticism as a “quitter” from her colleagues and the media. They are just a few of Ali’s subjects, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and places but share a penchant for honest self-reflection.
Perusing Momma Love is like entering into an honest, gutsy conversation that women of all ages will want to join, whether they are just curious about motherhood; contemplating it in earnest, as the author was when she began her journey; or deep in the throes of it. It is also for fans of great documentary photography that sticks in the mind and heart forever.