The idea to photograph mothers and daughters appeared after one of the duo had a baby.
In 2000, Monika Bereżecka and Monika Redzisz began working together under the name Zorka Project, and have been published in Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka and photographic magazines. In addition to their press photography, they have also had gallery exhibitions, becoming famous for several series of portraits documenting vulnerable social, minority and professional groups. Square-format photographs were their trademark.
Their exhibition at Warsaw’s Luksfera Gallery in 2005 featured mothers from different social groups and walks of life. They photographed women from a home for single mothers, as well as volunteers who had answered a newspaper advert, and personal friends. As they recalled in the text to accompany the exhibition:
Nothing seemed more natural to us at the time.
All the portraits were taken indoors, so sections of kitchens or lounges are visible. In most of the pictures, the subjects are hugging or leaning in close to each other. The photographers depicted women from two or three generations. They were interested in the ways in which mothers shape their daughters, pointing out the similarities between them. Their subjects are shown in their underwear or nude, perhaps in an attempt to draw attention to the essentials, as Redzisz admitted that:
For me, people are always the most important part of a picture. They are eternal, the same, immutable. Only the backgrounds change.
The naturalistic shots showed women unretouched, some pregnant or breast-feeding; quite a departure from the idealised images which dominate advertising and glossy magazine covers (or nowadays we’d probably say ‘which dominate Instagram’). These photographs brought a little normality back to the collective imagination.
Originally written in Polish, translated by MB, Nov 2018
This text is part of the project Metaphors of Independence: Poland In 100 Photos.
To coincide with the centenary of Poland regaining its independence, we have created a selection of photographs that allow us to understand both yesterday and today. A hundred photographs but so much more. Find out more.