This project began when a friend of mine told me about his days in the army. His mother had told him that every time her phone rang, she would panic, fearing the worst for her son.
When I thought about my friend’s mother, I pictured her sitting in a worn-out armchair, the room just lit by one lamp and the phone to her right. As if it were her nemesis. It felt as if I had already taken the picture.
Thus Project Mom began. I wanted to take portraits of mothers and give them back something they could keep forever. I began to meet extraordinary mothers who had taken heart-wrenching journeys through life—mothers who had done so much for others; mothers who had so often had to put themselves last.
I wish I could have taken all the pictures needed and finished with a picture of my own mom, who lives in Birmingham, England. She raised me alone: My father was never really around, and I wasn’t exactly the perfect son, but I don’t want to dwell on that. I will, though, share one story about growing up.
I think my mom was working three jobs at the time, and I would cook my dinner while she was at work. I can’t remember how old I was, maybe 12, but she would buy these chicken breasts and, of course, being on a budget, would plan the week’s shopping perfectly.
I didn’t know at the time, but the two pieces of chicken in the pack were one for me and one for my mom. I cooked them both, ate them and had a great meal. My mom came home after working a 16-plus hour day and went to cook one. Unfortunately, I had already eaten it. But the thing is, she never said anything; she just thought I was a growing boy and needed extra.
Looking back, I wish she would have said something, given me a bit of the business about it. Three jobs, and sometimes wouldn’t get a decent meal at the end of the day! That’s the sacrifice I guess you make when you’re a parent. As the years have passed, Mom has supported me all the way in my photography career; she even flew out from England to come to my first photo exhibition. When you read this, Mom, please know this: I wish I could have come home and taken your picture, too. This series is for you, and for all the moms out there who have been amazing in every way.