If you're fluent in French you'll be able to read more of the interview on their website. If you need a translation (of just some of the highlights of our interview) check out the text below. Whenever you see a Q that's the question being asked by Jeanne Magazine and then the response follows.
Q: What is the goal of The Pride & Joy Project?
Our primary goal is to create a beautiful, diverse collection of images that feature queer mothers & their families in the community. Our long-term goal is to strengthen the LGBTQ community through our images, our stories, and our lives and help empower the next generation of queer families. Visibility is absolutely vital as we move forward. Visibility helps to change hearts and minds for good and give children and future generations messages of hope, acceptance, and love. We create family portraits that focus on real, everyday interactions like reading books together, going to the park together, or making granola in the kitchen at home. Children and families today need to see images of real families and diverse families. Diversity is beautiful and we are so lucky to be photographing so many wonderful, unique families! Eventually we plan to create a book of family portraits that can be shared worldwide, reaching a larger, global audience of queer mothers and families. Our stories are important, our lives are important, and our future matters. By sharing our stories we are investing in each other, no matter where we live or who we love.
Q: How do you find the families who participate in the project?
The Pride & Joy Project is currently photographing queer mothers and their families in the San Francisco Bay Area but we are starting to branch out to more cities on the West Coast by word of mouth recommendations, friends and acquaintances. Our Facebook and Instagram page reach a wider, global audience – we have followers and friends as far and wide as Brisbane, Australia, Italy, Japan, and now France! We are so excited about connecting with the readers of Jeanne Magazine!
Locally, we find queer families to participate in the Bay Area through our active presence on social media and in the LGBTQ community. We have been passing out flyers and stickers at pride events this summer and even hosting our own gatherings for Moms to meet and greet other families that have participated in The Pride & Joy Project. You can always find us online at our website www.prideandjoyproject.com and on Facebook and Instagram. Many families reach out to us and we keep in touch with them all! If you’d like to stay in touch with the Pride & Joy Project send us an email and we’ll add your city to the list for future visits and photoshoots.
Q: Is it hard to find them (queer mothers and their families) since we often say lesbians are “invisible”?
It has not been too difficult to find families to photograph since we are based in San Francisco, California. Many lesbians and queer women who have already been photographed share our project with their friends and word travels quickly. At times it does feel that “invisibility” is present but the tide of visibility and acceptance is turning rapidly with more and more women reaching out to us directly. It’s all very exciting and rewarding! The most difficult aspect of reaching our audience can be the amount of time it takes to respond to inquiries and develop relationships with each family. Many mothers who write to us would like their family to be photographed but they live in another city, state or country that’s far from San Francisco and we are doing our best to raise money to travel and take The Pride & Joy Project on the road. If you’re inspired by our project, we have a donate button on our website and appreciate any help you can give! All donations will help The Pride & Joy Project travel to other cities and locations to photograph more families, share even more of our stories, and connect our global community of queer mothers and their families.
Q: Your family portraits express so much energy and look right in the essence of the family you photograph. Do you spend time with these people before a shoot in order to know what you want to photograph?
Thank you for saying that! It’s so important to us that we create images that are real interactions that are true to each family. Not all families are the same and we highlight that as best we can so we spend a few days (or in some cases, weeks) writing back and forth with each family to come up with a photoshoot that represents them accurately with honesty and love. Once we receive an email inquiry from a family about participating in The Pride & Joy Project we start an email dialogue back and forth to discuss options, their interests as a family, and finally we choose a date, time, and location. We try not to have duplicate locations in our series (like two photoshoots at the beach, or two photoshoots at the library). While interests may overlap with other families, we aim to make each experience and each photoshoot unique to that family. We have photographed a family on top of Mount Diablo while they were on a camping trip, at home in their kitchen baking granola and reading books, and many times at local parks, natural spaces, and backyards where everyone can be themselves and express their pride & joy in whatever way feels best for them.
We always take a few minutes at the beginning of every shoot to talk together, come up with a tentative plan for the photoshoot and let it flow from there, organically. As the photographer I don’t pose any of the families into positions or tell them how to interact or what to do. I am there to observe, to document, and to spend time with them on their terms. The more comfortable we all are together the better the photos will inevitably be so it really helps to take time to get to know each other if it’s possible before hand.
Q: Do you plan on asking each family you photograph to share their story as a testimony?
We talk about the family’s story every single photoshoot we have. It always comes up because that’s what our project is about! It’s up to each family to share as much they want to with me while we’re working together. I treat each family with patience and gratitude from the very beginning and respect what they choose to share or not share. For some women it can be a difficult, long road to motherhood and it may be uncomfortable for them to talk about their journey towards a family. Some families are eager to share how they conceived their children, adopted, fostered, or cared for them – it all depends on their experience, their personality, and how comfortable they are sharing their story. In the future one of our long-term goals will be to add brief stories from each participating family about how they came to be. That text would then accompany the photos on our website, and eventually our book.
Merçi beaucoup Jeanne Magazine!