Wearing the Inside Out – Photographs and text by Hady Barry

“Wearing the Inside Out” is a personal investigation through photography of the desire to become a mother (or not), and what this represents in the definition of female identity. The project was born from the realization that I am not living up to the expectations society has of me as a woman: I am heading into my mid-thirties unmarried and without children.

Marriage somehow I feel I can do without, but not having children feels as risky as having them. If I do not give birth will I be missing out on an essential experience? Will I regret it? I was confronted with these questions for the first time in 2019 when I moved in with my friend who I have known since we were five. I was living with my friend Azi, her husband, their young daughter, the nanny, and their dog. I found myself the Auntie-in-Residence and a witness to the family life she was building.

The summer of 2020 Azi and I turned 31. She also became pregnant with her second child. The proximity of our lives made it difficult not to grapple with whether I’d like to start a family as well. This was the trigger for this project. I began to document her pregnancy and the life we shared. Through this project I wanted to examine how we both approach the grand project of womanhood and my ambivalence towards it.

What began as a straightforward documentation of my friend’s second pregnancy evolved unexpectedly into a tender meditation on our friendship and the different ways we think of and navigate womanhood.

— Hady Barry

This project was selected as a Juror’s Pick for the LensCulture Black & White Awards 2022. You can see all of the winners and finalists here.

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