A few weeks ago I was invited by the non-profit Vibe Israel to visit the country and meet with some of the top parenting activists in the area. I will be releasing multiple articles which focus on some of the most interesting people and encounters that I had on this adventure.
Photographer Linn Merman: Breastfeeding in Israel
Hi, my name is Linn Merman. I am a 37 year old photographer from Israel, and mother of Mia, a I year and 9 month old little girl ( still currently breastfeeding). I am a family, pregnancy, motherhood, and breastfeeding photographer.
About the project:
In my urban breast feeding project, I take a documentary of mothers in there motherhood moments and breastfeeding their babies of all different ages. I follow them peacefully with my camera at their homes at first, to get to know and make a relaxing bonding with them and with their child, then I take the camera out and start to take photos of their regular, every day intimacy moments with their babies.
We go out to the streets while I follow them in their normal day routine in their life. I make sure to capture the most authentic natural moments in their lives. (Ex: I follow the children out of kindergarten, waiting for the bus, going to the laundromat, etc..)
Since breastfeeding cannot be scheduled, when the baby wants to eat, he eats. Whether it’s at the bus station, on the bus, or while taking the dogs out for their afternoon doggy walk.
How it started:
I initially started this project while breastfeeding my daughter Mia. I lived in Tel Aviv for 15 years until I moved 2 years ago to a little place in the country, far away from the big city. I was not meeting many people or walking around in streets like I used to. This is what brought my heart to this project: being very curious of how other breastfeeding mothers live their outdoor lives breastfeeding their children.
In this project, I show art through my eyes. I do not make any provocation about breastfeeding, just bring the real life happenings outside and show how beautiful and natural breastfeeding is… because it has always been this way for me.
What the future holds:
As my project grows, I am hoping to photograph more and more women breastfeeding- indoors and outdoors, all over Israel from all different cultures and places. I want to get a variety of Israeli breastfeeding mothers and show the world the real, authentic, and natural thing which has been happening for thousands of years and more. We want to show others that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. This is part of the life real life that mother earth has created for us.
Since this project has started I have had many highlights so far… I think all the public shots have been a pivotal part of this project. I love the feeling of how free and open the mothers I photograph are, as well as being so close in their intimacy with their child while feeling this strong strong mother and baby connection. I am so thankful of them for letting me into their lives, seeing how people on the streets accept this happening, and not listening to any rude or uncomfortable words from people around us. They are showing us how each baby has it’s own different “demands” of breastfeeding and meeting those needs. I am so happy to be a part of this.
As I said earlier, while photographing in Tel Aviv it felt very natural and peaceful around us, I even remember one guy getting closer and just asking questions about the dogs in a very comfortable way, while the mother was just breastfeeding on the bench. Well..ok..i’m sure not only the dogs caught his eyes:)
However, this project has not been without skepticism. Both my parents were not sure about the idea when I told them my idea. They were convinced that it wouldn’t be accepted by the public. I just told them- it’s OK. Trust me. This is what I have to do. This is what my body and soul brings me to do, and I know it will bring good. 🙂
Now, after seeing parts of the project, they are very happy and proud. If I believe with all my heart in what I am doing, then who can say different?
Why Tel Aviv?
I think I chose Tel Aviv for the first place to take this breastfeeding documentary because Tel Aviv is a very open city. It will accept everything and everybody. (Well almost,I guess.)
I remember I wasn’t too concerned with how would people around while I was taking photos because it felt so natural. Actually, this was the first reason which came in my mind when I felt i should take these photos in Tel Aviv and not in any other city, because in Tel Aviv it will be accepted with opened arms.
Getting featured in a gallery:
The gallery I am currently featured in showed a big variety of artists showing very interesting photography works. It was very facinating to look around the gallery. There was no special subject to the exhibition, but a very good gathering of art. I have sent the collectors a few photos of my projects and hoped with some fear that it could interest them for a showing.
I am happy to say that they were very interested of showing my project and they have chosen one of my photos to display. I did not know how it would be accepted in a gallery, and i was very surprised to get people writing me to my Facebook page, sending me photos in the gallery, and they found it very touching because it was one of the most important things in the family and children part of their lives. I was so grateful for these comments that I could just burst.
How to learn more about the project:
Visit Linn’s Facebook page and contact her through email or Facebook you’re interested in purchasing a print.