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Behind Closed Doors KWestaway.jpg

"Behind Closed Doors"

I'm pleased to announce that I was shortlisted for this year's

Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2023

with this very personal image I took in 2018.

It wasn't an easy decision to enter this privately documented shot but there are several reasons that I decided to go for it.

Breastfeeding older children is still at best frowned upon, at worst, women are shamed and attacked for doing it in public. I belong to a few Breastfeeding Older Children Group's and some of the stories on there are horrifying. It is woefully ignorant and based on a very outdated set of beliefs, that this is somehow wrong.

The blurb that I wrote to accompany this image in the competition will help to add more context.

The reality of modern motherhood is rarely seen. For hundreds of thousands of years we were hunter gatherers, mammals living in tribal groups, dependant on each other, sharing the load. In a mere 10,000 years we have become isolated entities living in our little boxes, struggling on our own behind closed doors. The tribe long gone. In terms of evolutionary biology we have not evolved from those times, infants still need constant physical contact with many different adults for their brains to develop fully and for nervous system regulation to occur, not to mention the support that the mother needs from other adults, grandparents, cousins, siblings. Impossible in the society that we live in today, a society riddled with mental health issues. I speak from experience of this as among other things I had postnatal depression. 

The human race would not exist without breastmilk, yet breastfeeding is stigmatised, hidden and discouraged. To avoid abuse women stay at home in isolation. 

It is not my intention to shame women who don't breastfeed, far from it, I strongly believe in the choice of the individual. It's much more my intention to normalise breastfeeding older children and support those that do.

I also hope to remind all parents that they are not ‘failing’ they are trying to achieve an impossible task, without a village.

For those that are interested in the technical side I took it on my Nikon D3s with a 16mm lens and it was a huge challenge to get my head out of the way, frame correctly, stop the babies rolling away, capture them both looking at me and not asleep  - I took more than 200 images to try and get the best shot and did it over several sessions.

You may have noticed that I am selling the image as 1/1  (the only copy) at

Euro 500,000. No that is not a typo :) 

I am making a political statement with this price. I wasn't keen to sell it at all, due to the personal nature of the image. However, I thought about what IS my price.

My partner and I have been separated for 1.5 years and we have no choice but to continue living together due to financial reasons. The diabolical state of our country means that we cannot afford to go our separate ways because of the cost of living, mortgage rates etc. I believe affordable shelter is a human right and we have completely lost our way when people cannot afford housing in a 1st world country.

So my price is to be able to afford somewhere else to live, to be able to build a better future for my family and for my ex to do the same. FYI The gallery takes 50% of the sale.


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