I put this article together recently for a magazine we published as a bunch of graduating photography students…
Although the photographs here are not of me, I would be lying if I said that the story behind them wasn’t about me. I too was once my mother’s little girl.
In the land where I was born, children became adults too soon. That’s how life went over there. No one knew any better, any different. We all moved on to conquer the world. Left homes, families and roots behind. ‘The world is your oyster.’
In 2010, a chubby little baby landed into my arms, nineteen minutes to midnight on a lonely Tuesday night. We only had our dog waiting for us at home. Every single one of our family members were 14,041kms away.
With this little girl has come back my little self. Watching her grow in the last six years, my emotions kept rolling, moving, laughing and crying. With this little girl has come back my homesickness. I craved for my mother so much that it hurt. I wanted to hear her footsteps around my house. I wanted her to sing along with the background radio again. My mother was obsessed with radio and light. She couldn’t breathe if the radio wasn’t on. She couldn’t function if the daylight didn’t fill the house. My daughter has brought my mother back to me. The holy trinity of my mother, myself and my daughter has completed every single vertebra on my spine. The joy was so big, it hurt. I looked at her at nights and I prayed that she wouldn’t ever leave me. I prayed that wherever she went it wasn’t too far. I prayed that her best friends, boyfriends, lovers didn’t replace our relationship. I prayed that she never left me, as much as I’ve left my mother. I was fifteen when I left my mother behind.
The short-lived journey of my own girlhood has inspired me to create some timeless photographs in these little girls. I call them ‘Little Ladies’. I’m fascinated by how they embrace life with so much emotion, mood and laughter. I see life through those faces, with all its shades and colours. I see perfection. I see the reflection of generations.
Capturing the inner soul of this very tender age has given me the opportunity to live mine again. It has given me the missing piece to complete my own puzzle.
Through these photographs, I looked for ways to travel back and unlock the emotions. In the end, the depth of these emotions is universal, no matter where you are born. In some instances, we have the joy of living them and in others, we box them away. These photographs were created to offer myself a little window, to those emotions that I boxed years ago.