Photographer Rachel Papo has recently released a Kickstarter campaign for her new book by Kehrer Verlag titled, It’s Been Pouring. This revelatory and important project sheds light on the experience of postpartum depression, something she experienced after both of her pregnancies. For this project, she created work from a personal space, but also captured the voices of other mothers in their darkest moments. Please consider supporting this effort!
Rachel Papo (born 1970) is an award winning photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, whose works have been published and exhibited worldwide. She earned a BFA in Fine Arts from Ohio State University (1991–96), and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City (2002–05).
Rachel has published two monographs, Serial No. 3817131 (2008) and Homeschooled (Kehrer Verlag, 2016). She was selected a finalist for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography, was awarded a NYFA Fellowship, and won a Lucie Award for Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. Rachel’s works are in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and The Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, among others. She is represented by ClampArt Gallery in New York City.
It’s Been Pouring
Postpartum depression is in many ways no longer taboo; it’s an affliction on the lips of many pregnant women as something they fear, and which they’ve been told counseling and medications can help. And yet—when I experienced it myself after the birth of both my children, and when I interviewed other women in the midst of their suffering—I realized that there is something we’re still not seeing, or are only willing to look at askance.
It’s Been Pouring sets out to capture the voices of mothers in their darkest moments. Through a combination of photographs, interviews and my own emails and texts, I provide a portal into the unbearable tension that exists between the miracle of birth and the potential horror that follows, leading the viewer through a narrative of despair. The sympathetic, yet unwavering lens this project brings to postpartum depression helps build the case that it is, in part, a social problem, largely due to the narrow definition of what our culture means by “mother.”
We’re still far from acknowledging the profound struggle a mother faces when her internal experience does not match society’s expectations of her as a joyful mother bonded to her newborn—a realization that only exacerbates the daily challenges she inevitably confronts in early motherhood.
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