Aviya Wyse, a thirty-year-old photographer originally from Haifa, Israel, is not attracted to the pregnant body, per se—at least not in the way that it has been idolized throughout art history. She usually street casts her subjects, and, she says, she would have photographed the same women pregnant or not. At the same time, “I do find the body of a pregnant woman absolutely fascinating, as I find any body, but pregnancy is a unique stage, a remarkable physical and mental state; it’s as though women become a wild animal or a prehistoric creature.”
Shot nude, against barren, destitute backgrounds, her subjects are a reminder of our primitive, primal essence, and the force of nature. Vulnerable and exposed but at the same time, distant and empowered, Wyse’s photographs of expectant and new mothers and fathers have a disarming effect.
“Pregnancy is a unique stage, a remarkable physical and mental state”
Her photographs reflect the odd state of being pregnant—as any woman who has experienced it knows, it can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable. “They look so strong in my eyes, but at the same time, within that growing belly, are many anxieties and fears too,” Wyse reflects. “It is such a delicate process, from blindness and darkness to light… to life.”
“My art feeds off my lust for life, and death,” Wyse adds. “I am obsessed with collecting living bodies which I capture and immortalize from decaying in reality. In this case I’m capturing the beginning of life for this mysterious new being and the parents, and at the same time, every birth carries within it the promise of an end—the beginning of the end—I see it as tragically beautiful.”