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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Shoot Mod4#9 – Behind the Mask – Jess


Figure 1: Sutherst. Jess. 2017

Jess is a fellow photographer.  This was my first shoot with her on the other side of my camera. Jess volunteered to take part in the project as she suffers from Postnatal Depression (PND) and wanted to raise awareness of it.

“Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, although this is less common.”

– (, 2017)

Jess runs her own photographic business, looks after her 2 children and appears to the world as a confident and happy person.  But PND sometimes holds her back and tries to take over her life.  But Jess is strong and always fights back.

During the face behind the mask part of the shoot, Jess talked to me about the trauma she had gone through with the birth of her children and how it made her feel.  The raw emotion was evident in all the shots.  During the conversation, I shot a few images of which the one below in figure 3 represents how Jess would be without her mask.

Jess is one of the most generous people I know.  Not only did she agree to take part in this project, but she also is a volunteer photographer for  Jess is one of many volunteer photographers who offer baby remembrance photography to parents who lose their baby. This is an emotional experience for all involved and Jess gives to this charity selflessly.

I am very grateful to Jess for being part of the project and for working towards raising awareness of PND. Even with all we know today, many women who have PND do not recognise the symptoms or realise that they are unwell.  Some are frightened to admit they have a problem for fear of being branded a bad mother.  Many suffer in silence. I hope that this project will help to raise awareness and help those who may be suffering.

To find out more information about PTSD please visit the PANDAS Website and please click DONATE if you would like to help fund research into PND and support for sufferers.

Figures 2 and 3: Sutherst. Jess. 2017

REFERENCES (2017). Postnatal depression – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2017].

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