Jenny Lewis returns to Malawi to revisit the newborns she photographed there three years ago, culminating in a new, bittersweet installment of her One Day Young project
“I never imagined I would see those families again,” says Jenny Lewis of the newborns and mothers she photographed in Malawi in 2015. “It was strange leaving there for the first time and not knowing.” Lewis first travelled to Malawi on commission with WaterAid to bring her project One Day Young – a series of portraits of mothers with their one day old babies – to the world’s poorest nation, and to raise awareness of WaterAid’s Deliver Life appeal, which aims to reach 130,000 of families around the world with safe water.
The resulting series of portraits, entitledOne Day Young Malawi, shows mothers in rural Malawi celebrating the very first motions of new life.
The images are an extension of Lewis’s One Day Young series, which was shot in Hackney, east London across several years. However, the conditions in which these infants were born could not have been more different; their very existence triumphant.
Lewis photographed all 10 of the children for One Day Young Malawi in 2015, on the day they were born, at Simulemba health centre in Kasungu, a facility without running water, toilets, or bathroom sanitation. “There was one waterhole nearby, and women coming to the health centre had to argue with the villagers over water, while having contractions,” explains Lewis. “I was worried I was going to witness something tragic, but miraculously all 10 mothers and babies managed to survive and get home.”