Publisher: T&M projects

“Is it too old to get pregnant? On my 41st birthday, I decided to undergo IVF. I had never questioned whether having a baby is a joy for women or not”
― Mayumi Suzuki’s foreword

In this mesmerizing series composed of nude self-portraits, sonograms and photographs of oddly shaped vegetables, Japanese photographer Mayumi Suzuki creates a personal narrative about her experiences with fertility treatment at the age of 41. Seeing herself as an outlier, the series examines expectations and normalizations surrounding pregnancy, the female body and the female role. Surprised by the little time doctors use to examine patients in preparation for IVF, Suzuki decided to photograph her nude body using the same exposure time: 60 seconds. When she eventually gave up on the treatment, she started to feel a strange sympathy with deformed vegetables that went unsold at the market. Through the haunting, almost ghostly photographs in “Hojo”, Suzuki gives shape to her complex experiences with promised possibilities and unexpected fates.

“In Japanese, 豊穣 (HOJO) refers to an abundance of land or a good harvest. In English, it usually is translated as “fertility.” In Japan, women have traditionally been worshiped as goddesses of HOJO. The ideal being blessed with abundant crops and many children have been associated with them.

I also used pictures of fertilized eggs that I received from the clinic. They are rough, pixelated pictures. From them, it’s hard to tell the difference between a fertilized egg that can get pregnant and one that cannot. When you zoom in, it's just a dot. If there is a factor in the hundreds of millions of cells in my body that is preventing me from conceiving, I have to look for that outlier. I am reminded of endless infertile land.

In this day and age, women can choose how they want to live. But sometimes they have to accept a fate that they have no control over. Even if my own body is not "fertile", I want to be proud of it because this is my life.”
― from Mayumi Suzuki’s artist statement

All text included in Japanese and in English translation.


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Book Size
254 × 196 mm
88 pages
Publication Year
English, Japanese

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