Birthrights is a photography installation project by Courtnee Papastathis which explores erotic female transition, and the uncomfortable collision of multiple factors (physical, emotional, social) that contribute to the profoundly transformative experience of birth and motherhood, particularly in America.
Women from different backgrounds and timelines are interviewed about their first pregnancy. From that interview, a short phrase to embody their first thoughts when they awoke after giving birth is chosen.
As well, we choose a part of their body to focus on for the image, either because that part was the one which has most changed physically/visually since pregnancy, or is the part in which their relationship has changed the most since the experience of giving birth.
The images are an intentional objectification of the mother. They are abstract, dark, desaturated, and subtlety highlight the bodies ‘flaws’, speaking both to the often hidden trauma and horror many women face in motherhood (which is not represented in typical peachy/soft pregnancy photography), as well as their erasure from part of a both conscious and subconscious value system of a society infected with a superficial and unattainable beauty standard.
After my photo shoot today, I came home to find that my cat was not coming when called from outside. She’d been out for more than 4 hours and very rarely leaves the yard, but was nowhere to be found in any crevice in my or our neighbors yard. I eventually found her at the…