This emotional and personal photography essay was given the 3rd place, Series award in the LensCulture Portrait Awards2016. Discover more inspiring work from all 39 of the winners and finalists.

The series, “Sweet Little Lies,” is about being a mother, a wife, and an artist. The daily snapshots of the Utah landscapes and the parameters of my home serve as a glimpse into my interior concerns.

Growing up in a religious community, family was emphasized as being very important. This is where I feel the pressures and expectations of being a wife, a mother, and also a woman.

There is an undeniable love that I have for my children, but also unfairness in these expectations. Besides the love and connection I felt with my brand-new baby as I welcomed him to earth, I also felt a loss of self and freedom.

—Amanda James

Editors’ Note: James’
work—along with photographs from nearly 50 of the winners and finalists from both the Portrait Awards and Exposure Awards—was exhibited at Photo London 2016.