My latest work explores the idea of maternal love. Is maternal love something all women possess? Do all women display maternal love when they bear a child? My maternal love changes its face ever minute. Sometimes it shows warm and selfless love—and then quickly changes to cold and possessing obsession. 

What is maternal love all about? When my daughter was sleeping, it was my daily routine to check often to make sure that she was breathing. The fear of losing her haunted me persistently. 

Perhaps it's because of my difficult pregnancy. I experienced bleeding during the eighth week of my pregnancy, was hospitalized three times, and was eventually strapped to bed for ten months. She was delivered by Caesarean section. I never saw the umbilical cord that connected me to my daughter. 

At the age of three, she grew to be 87 centimeters tall and 13.5 kilograms in weight. My arms were not strong enough to hold her, so I let her run free. But I was watching her every steps, worried that she might fall and get hurt. 

After a while, I realized that I had begun to view life from my daughter's eye level. Things which appeared ordinary to me as an adult (from the height of 155 centimeters) became “jewels” in the eyes of my child. On many occasions, I took photos of her “jewels” and I felt a stronger and stronger connection with my daughter.

The more of these pictures that I made, the more connected I began to feel with her. Our connection is getting stronger, more colorful but also more varied—after all, my daughter and I have very different personalities. 

Now, she is three years and eight months old. She calls shiny or beautiful items, “jewels.” For me, she is a jewel.

—Miki Hasegawa

Exhibition of all 50 LensCulture Emerging Talents: Barcelona, October 13-31

Miki Hasegawa's work, along with photographs from ALL the LensCulture Emerging Talents will be shown in an exhibition at the Galeria Valid Foto in Barcelona. Please join us for the opening party on October 13, 2014—we hope to see you there! See a preview of ALL the winners here in LensCulture.

ALL winners have already been featured at photo festival screenings in Dublin, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Amsterdam so far this year. Next screening in Korea at the
Seoul Lunar Photo Fest.