Written by Katrina Wong
Mothers Milk is a budding photographer from Austin with a penchant for the messy and wild, but not in the sense we understand as adults. In a world where sex sells, realization of the body as a structure and not an object demands consciousness. Kids know better how to dismiss fear and Mothers Milk taps into that boundless, playful energy to depict naked bodies in its pure (albeit dirty) unadulterated form.
She’s set to move to Barcelona in the fall to attend an art school and mature her work, whilst continuing to endure Instagram’s infernal censorship. Read the interview below as she talks about Austin, her photography and her prospects.
Your Instagram bio says you’re in Austin but moving to Barcelona. Did you grow up in Austin? Why are you moving to Barcelona?
I have been in Austin of all my life and it’s really getting old. It’s a beautiful city filled with art and music, but I need to go off and travel alone as a young woman. I got accepted into a small art school in Barcelona and will be living there for a year. I will mainly be working on photography and multimedia projects, but I want to start experimenting with textiles, film and maybe classical oil painting. All of my work will continue to involve naked bodies.
How did you get into photography? Why are you an “aspiring tit snapper”?
Last fall I picked up one of my ex’s old film cameras and dragged some friends out for a photo shoot. I had no idea what I was doing and I still don’t – from a technical standpoint – but I’ve learned that I’m happiest when taking photos, modeling, and just any way I’m involved in a photo shoot. As for my bio, I say I am “aspiring” because I am not yet where I want to be as an artist and labeling myself as a “photographer” sounds too holy. “Tit snapper” should translate directly to taking pictures of boobs. The scissor emoji gives it some mystery.
The smears, the scratches, the tangles, the spills.. Are they intentional? Do they somehow supplement your portrayal of the naked body? Does the mess of substances and poses reflect the kinkier side of life?
I try to highlight the gross, childlike, animalistic aspects of humanity through my work. A lot of the photos are just a result of my friends reacting to an object or medium that I present to them. It becomes very playful. Much of my early work is not meant to be sexual at all. And I actually get a lot of hate because people are so used to seeing the female body portrayed in a sexual way, and I want to show fat and pubes and real people who’s only intentions are to be free and wild. However, I have recently started a project that is centered on the sexual debauchery of my friends and I. Everything will still be raw, but this time the work will be deliberately primitive and sexual.
How do you feel about having to emoji-censor your photographs on Instagram?
I hate censoring my photos. Nipples, pubes, vaginas, dicks, butt holes; I love them all and I want to show the human body to the world. In this new project there will probably be lots of bare and gaping body parts and the emojis will ruin the photos. But, Instagram is one of the easiest platforms for me to present my work to a large audience, so I’ll have to deal with it for a while.
Where do your shoots take you? What’s the story behind your wildest collaboration?
The best part about Austin is the Greenbelts. There is so much wild and open space, and usually no one fucks with you. Austin is a hippie town so everyone is pretty much fine with seeing naked people in the woods. I started out with photography by taking my friends to swimming holes in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. At this point I’m kind of sick of all the rocks, and I am going to be moving towards more domestic night time and bedroom shots.
The wildest collaboration I’ve done was during this past SXSW music festival. I’d gone out to a few bars and shows, and some how wrangled 3 weirdos into my van and drove them to the river. The plan was to do a shoot but we ended up snorting a bunch of ketamine first. Bad idea. People started vomiting, running around, and simultaneously falling asleep. It took a lot of direction to get the shoot started, but once we got going it was a blast. We were all on this crazy level and started doing some really weird, wild, and pukey stuff. I had broken my good camera the week before, so sadly the pictures don’t do the experience justice! But it was a good time.
Any plans as you fare forward?
For the next few months I plan on working on this personal kink project and saving up money for Spain. I move to Barcelona in August and from there I plan to continue my artistic exploration. I also plan on traveling around Europe and Africa in search of beautiful places and beautiful bodies.