ARIZONA, USA — Arizona-based photographer Alicia Samone has been putting together a yearly gathering of moms from across the state in an effort to normalize breastfeeding for the past five years.
This year was her project's biggest year yet in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, with 236 Arizona moms who participated.
Samone has normally gathered all the moms together for one large group photo in years past. However, the pandemic took the possibility of a large group photo out of the picture.
She said that wasn't going to let that stop her.
"Five years of doing this and I’m going to let 2020/COVID slow us down? Nope," Samone said in a Facebook post.
She wanted to break her previous record of picturing 174 moms for the project. So, she decided she would photograph every single mom for this year's event individually.
And the response was overwhelming.
"All 236 MOMS (and 262 kids) came together and stood for one thing...that breastfeeding is normal," Samone said. "From Tucson to Mesa to downtown Phoenix to the far west valley and in between."
The project focused on normalizing breastfeeding as a safe, natural, and beautiful practice and to shed light on the negative perception of the practice across the world, the Facebook post described.
"Moms all over the world...are told they do this for attention. They are told they do this to sexualize themselves. They are HIT on while breastfeeding because they are sexualized for breastfeeding!" Samone said.
"She should be asked what she needs and what will make her comfortable while is she literally nourishing another human being with every vitamin, Antibodies, food, and need for his/her little body."
The project seems to have inspired that awareness, while numerous people commenting saying has made them tear up and how important it is.
"Even though this year we were all separated this statement was made together," Samone said. "All 236 moms and one very very passionate photographer that refuses to give up."
You can see the entire post and project on Alicia Samone's page here.