204 / 2019-2020
My son was born in 2019 January two months earlier than expected, due to a sudden pregnancy complication, preeclampsia. Premature babies with low birthweight are cared for at the perinatal intensive care unit (PICU) where they stay in incubators. Babies cannot be sufficiently breastfed; so they are fed artificially through a feeding tube. Mothers pump their milk and they take it to the PICU in sterilized bottles in every three hours. As they put the bottle on top of the incubator, the mothers can see their children for a short while.
We were in hospital for thirty-four days and I pumped six times a day. As a result I took 204 bottles to my baby. As I was walking in the hospital corridors with bottles in my hand, the fact that my body produces milk made me happy and this way, in spite of the barriers I could still look after my child. We first experienced the mother-child bond filled into these tiny bottles. Taking photos of the bottles gave me some comfort even in the darkest periods by taking me out of the grim reality of the hospital for a moment.
I didn’t take a photo of every 204 bottle; I made up for the missing pictures after a year. I used the iPhone images I took in the hospital as an archive and started to combine them into collages. With time the collages became more and more layered, I used paint, transparent prints, lights and digital manipulation, too. As I evaporated the original images and turned them into new ones, I, finally, was able to face the trauma and dissolve it with the help of the joy that image making means.