United Kingdom

Gemma Willis



Gemma Willis (b. 1984) has been working in the photographic industry for 14 years. After completing a BA in Photography, she went onto to teach at Northampton College as the Course Leader for Level 3 Photography. Alongside this, Gemma freelanced as a lifestyle photographer and in 2016, when her second daughter was born, she left the college and started as self-employed full time. During the same year, Gemma enrolled in an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. Gemma has since graduated with Merit. She enjoys photographing people and likes to engage with her sitter and gain a depth of character within the image.

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Mothers at Work

This project looked at women who had made a career change in order to accommodate their children. Many of the women I saw worked from home, this enabled them to have a more manageable balance of work and home life. This felt important to them but was also necessary in some cases due to the costs of childcare.

The women showed me how they managed to work with their children around and the challenges they faced whilst doing so. I found this project to be important, to show the reality and pressures of modern parenting.


Working Mother

Working Mother explores motherhood and the pressures of returning to work. The project reminds us that for many, initially, motherhood brings not only joy, but also the loneliness and stresses which can be associated with postnatal depression.

Shooting mostly at night, the photographs are of women as they return or are about to go to work. The portraits capture the short amount of time between work, taking care of their children and finally, sleep. The work is very self-reflective and involves a lot of the artist’s own experiences and feelings.

The photographs are accompanied by quotes taken from the subjects on their personal experiences of what many call the ‘baby blues’ and postnatal depression. PND is a largely underexposed yet common symptom post-birth. It is also something that is seen as a taboo subject. With many women feeling weakened and ashamed by their feelings and diagnosis, awareness needs to be made in order to de-stigmatise those feelings.