Behind the Photo with Julia Matthews

2nd Place Award in the “Nothing Is Better Than Real Life” category. Photo by Julia Matthews, United States.

What is the story behind your winning photograph?

I love watching children explore adult things and adult behavior.  I am always drawn to moments when that is happening. I was really excited shooting this particular moment because my girls were exploring both the bra itself and nursing behavior. I love the connection between the two of them. It is sweet and funny at the same time.  

What specifically drew you to this moment that you captured?

My girls have always played well together, but during the pandemic they became extremely close. They both have wild imaginations so I never have to wait too long before they doing something interesting.    

What was your experience while making this photo? What challenges did you encounter in the process?

This moment developed over a period of 15 minutes or so. The girls started out jumping on the bed together and I was photographing that. Then my little one put on the bra. The interaction between the two girls was really amusing to me. I love their connection so I decided to include the photo hanging on the wall to show their ongoing relationship. Once I decided to do that I just waited for the perfect moment when the girls were in a clean space, you could see the photo on the wall, and there was a good moment between them. The moment they gave me took it over the top. 

What do you think this photo means to you or to others?

This photo is humorous and really relatable. So many people remember dressing up in their parents clothing and doing silly things with their siblings. It is the kind of photo that takes people back to childhood.  

How or why is photography important to you?

So many of the individual moments from childhood are forgotten. We have a general sense of what our childhood was like and a select few specific memories, but my girls won’t remember this specific moment when they are adults. I love family photography because it preserves these moments. Personalities and relationships are often so consistent that even though we can not remember the moment in the photograph, we can still feel it.

View more of Julia’s work on Instagram @juliamatthewsphotography

The Documentary Family Awards is an international competition in search of the insightful and meaningful ways that documentary photographers explore the interpretation of family.