Tori Ferenc

Lives and works in the United-Kingdom

In Waiting

Something that often gets forgotten when a firstborn comes into this world, is that it is not only the birth of a child, but also of a mother. It is a metamorphic experience for the whole family – it changes the relationship dynamic and the way we look at our own parents. Pregnancy and first-time parenthood are riddled with doubts and fears. Will everything be okay with the baby? Is labour going to hurt? How will this new role change me? In my own experience, these feelings were heightened as I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of the global pandemic.

Pregnancy is a time of seemingly infinite anticipation, abruptly ended by the child’s arrival. In Waiting focuses on that period in our life when everything else was on hold. Since we were initially unable to travel and see our families in Poland, the pregnancy became an intimate experience I shared with my husband. Limited mostly to the space of our apartment, I turned the camera on us. I began documenting our lives in this transformative moment, and I have continued doing so with the arrival of our daughter.

The shadow and light play a central role in this work, reflecting the complexity of early motherhood with its highs and lows. Family portraits are tangled with still lifes of mundane parental reality – sterilised bottle teats, toys scattered on the floor, take away meals eaten in a hurry. These images echo a feeling of claustrophobia, which so many people can associate with the early days of parenthood.

Looking after a baby can be an extremely isolating experience, and there were days when I felt like the walls were closing in. I wanted to document myself in these various states between joy and anxiety. Doing this project has become a testimony of my own motherhood, but also a way to cope with its challenges. Photographing myself waiting to become a mother has turned into a form of visual diary, allowing me to explore my own boundaries on both sides of the lens.