Realising that typical imagery of breastfeeding didn't exactly match up to the reality, London photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor decided to embark on a series that would explore what it's really like for mothers.
"Before having my son, I, like many other women, had an idealised but perhaps unrealistic expectation of breastfeeding. The images I'd seen tended to represent breastfeeding in quite a generic and non-informative way," says Sophie. "I wanted to open up the conversation – not for or against, simply more honest."
Calling her series Milk, she wanted to let other mums share their story in the comfort of their homes. "I hope it can give others who choose to breastfeed something to connect with and to feel a little more understood," she says. "With so much more open and honest discussion around the role of women's bodies at the moment, now feels like the right time to discuss one of its most basic functions in a truthful and refreshing way."
It's this documentary of personal lives and experiences, of her own and others, that we've come to expect with Sophie's work. Effortlessly truthful, she always approaches each subject with sensitivity and confidence. Known for making use of natural and ambient light, her photographs in Milk have an unusual softness and depth.
In one image we meet Chaneen, who says of her breastfeeding experience: "I am abundant. Free-flowing. All nourishing. Even when I don't feel like magic, I am! Breastfeeding has shown me that."
In another, we meet Nova: "I never imagined how tough it would be. Throughout my pregnancy, I had visions of how easy it would be and how much I'd enjoy whipping my breast out in public without a care in the world. I never, ever thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. Whenever I thought about it, my head was set on breastfeeding for a year with a 'breast is best' attitude. In reality, I'm counting down the days until we can start weaning and I'm not sure I’ll even make it to six months. I've realised that 'best' is whatever makes me happy and relaxed because only then can I be the best mum to Nova."
Discover more of Sophie's work at sophieharristaylor.com.