Meet Abby Moskowitz
I was an anthropology major at UCLA, but I always loved photography and worked at the school paper. After school I moved to New York City and became a photo editor at several magazines. I really liked the creative aspect of the job. Seeing the story come to life because I hired the right photographer and got the right location was a great feeling. What I really wanted to do, though, was to be that photographer.
Once I started to have kids, I left my job to stay home. That gave me the time to shoot more and I did a few freelance jobs over the years, but the kids needed me more. Three kids and 15 years later I’m ready to get back into doing what I have always wanted to do — be a working photographer.
Tell us about the inspiration for your project, The Women’s Series.
My kids were finally at an age (8, 12, and 15) where they were more independent and needed me less. My husband was also going on sabbatical for the year, which meant he could pick up some of the slack if I started shooting more. So I gave myself a year long project. I was at the gym mindlessly running on a treadmill when the question came to me. What do all these women around me do? I see them out and about but what did they do the rest of the time? I decided to find out. I sent an email to 20 women and 11 said yes. Some of these women I knew and some I only knew of, but they were all interesting to me and they are all moms. I wanted to know everything they did on a daily basis to keep not only their lives in working order, but everyone else’s lives that relied on them. Women do a million things that often go unnoticed not only by their kids or partners, but by the women themselves, too!
You’re capturing these women doing REAL life things, like folding laundry or cooking dinner, tending to sick kids, working, helping with homework, parenting, going back to school, celebrating with others. One woman is going through a divorce. Another had a hysterectomy. Why was it important to you to share these images?
I think it’s important to see their lives not just read about them. You can see and feel their emotions and know that yeah, it’s ok to feel that way and I’m not the only one. There is power in photography. We should celebrate everything that women do for others, but also shine a light to let people know the breadth of it, and sometimes the weight of it, too.
I find myself pausing at many of the images, either relating to or feeling for the women in some way — happy or sad, if they seem sad, sometimes tired. What have you learned from the project so far?
I realized that I relate to many of these women’s stories. It’s so refreshing to know you are not alone in your anxiety, or frustration, or love. We can really lift each other up by sharing our stories. So many people have stopped me in the neighborhood to say how they were affected by one of the stories and how they could relate to them. They relate to the mom that is critical of her appearance, or the mom that’s divorced and found love again which gave them hope that they too could find happiness, or all the women that work hard to stay healthy even if they don’t have the time.
This is your personal returnship of sorts. What’s next?
Yes, it is. This is my year to really jump back in and do something for me. I still want to be here for my kids after school but I want to keep shooting and trying new things. What I’m really hoping is to have a show and a book to showcase The Women’s Series with more in-depth stories and more photographs. Along the way I am picking up freelance work and building a book of business that will only grow from here, bringing me closer to my goal of becoming a working photographer.
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