Breastfeeding portraits that were popular in the mid-1800s are back in vogue, and I am wondering if mothers would want a photo of themselves breastfeeding?
“And as Jill Lepore explains in The Mansion of Happiness, it’s just the latest round in the changing discourse about breastfeeding; in the mid-1800s, images of breastfeeding mothers became a fad in the U.S. The use of wet nurses had never been as common in the U.S. as in Europe, and it became even less popular by the early 1800s; breastfeeding your own child became a central measure of your worth as a mother. Cultural constructions of femininity became highly centered on motherhood and the special bond between a mother and her children in the Victorian era.”
“As daguerreotypes became available, women began to pose breastfeeding their infants, capturing them in this most essential of maternal roles…”
I will admit that I actually had a photographer friend take a shot of me breastfeeding one of my babies more than a decade ago. Nursing was very important in my bond with my babies, and I wanted a photo of it. I spent 18 months nursing each baby, and I wanted to capture and remember that special time. It was very tasteful and you can’t see anything.
So did you ever shoot you nursing? Would you ever shoot yourself nursing? Can you understand the idea of a formal breastfeeding portrait? What do you think of the vintage images?