For our latest editorial, Hana Knizova explores the beauty and humour in everyday moments with mothers and their children. Reflecting her natural, intimate aesthetic, she captures genuine relationships and real family dynamics in these authentic scenes.
Hana is a Czech-born photographer who has been based in London for the past 8 years. Read more about her and the shoot in our Q and A below.
Can you tell us about your concept behind this shoot?
A lot of my friends have become mothers over the last few years and it came quite naturally that I started taking portraits of them. I’ve also noticed a significant change in the way motherhood is presented—moving from almost concealment during pregnancy and early motherhood to a somewhat celebratory, participatory attitude. There used to be an unspoken assumption of how mothers-to-be should behave, look and be portrayed, which is now outdated. Social media certainly plays a role in that. What I was exploring when taking the images though was the humour and beauty in seemingly mundane situations.
What was it like to shoot personal moments with real mothers?
Very organic and smooth. There is a certain charm in working in a domestic environment with children as you never quite know what to expect. What’s vital is the relationship between those who are photographed and the willingness to let the photographer in.
From mothers to twins and couples, your work often centres on relationships. What is it about relationships and family that inspires you?
I come from a very small family and I’ve always wanted to have a sibling. Whether you work with a couple or siblings, the dynamics of their relationship usually shows on the set, and then it’s up to me if I decide to let this come across in the image or create another narrative. You can play with reality, without manipulating it.
You’re from the Czech Republic. What brought you to London and how have London and your home country shaped you creatively?
I came to London 8 years ago to study photography at London College of Communication. It was a dream to live here for a while. Growing up in the Czech Republic in the time of early post-communism, I was certainly subconsciously affected by many factors which would be difficult to define but being in the very heart of Europe, absorbing influences from both “Eastern” and “Western” parts of it deeply affected my perspective on both family and life in general. But I would say that living and working in London has made me more hard working and focused.
What life advice would you give your childhood self?
Don’t sit and wait for a better opportunity, don’t be shy, take the risk. Just because someone sounds convincing doesn’t mean they’re right or mean well. Most of this advice I could still use today…
Where do you go to be inspired?
Inspiration often comes when you’re not looking for it. It’s important to seize the moment, and at the same time, leave space for magic and inspiration to happen. I find it really helpful to discuss ideas with people, often the further from your field/industry the better.
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What is it about working with Stella McCartney that appealed to you most?
I’ve been following Stella for a long time of course. I love the brand’s focus on sustainability and effortless elegance and timelessness—it’s something that I really connect with.
What does the future look like for you?
If I only knew. I just want to make sure that whatever it will be, it won’t be boring.