Looking For Alice: A Mother’s Portraits Of Her Daughter

When Sian Davey's daughter Alice was born with Down's Syndrome five years ago, she struggled to form a relationship with her at first. Having three children previously, Sian felt an unfamiliar disconnect.
"Early on in the pregnancy my partner and I were told we had a high probability that we were carrying a baby with Down’s Syndrome," she says. "Despite this, I was not prepared for how I would respond after Alice was born and diagnosed. Alice did not feel like my other children and part of my response was to pull away from her.
"I was fraught with anxiety that rippled through to every aspect of my relationship with her. My anxieties penetrated my dreams. On reflection I saw that Alice was feeling my rejection of her, and that caused me further pain. I saw that the responsibility lay with me: I had to dig deep into my own prejudices. The result was that as my fear dissolved, I fell in love with my daughter. We all did."
Sian got into photography a number of years ago, as a way to deal with the grief following a miscarriage. After Alice was born, she again turned to photography.
What follows is a beautiful, tender look at family life, that challenges the notion of difference.
"Ultimately, this is also a story about love and what gets in the way of that," she says. "The process of photographing this work helped me shine a light on why I struggled to love her, which was essentially fear and uncertainty. Alice has been a huge part of the process, guiding me to what needed to be expressed. I always knew she loved me, it was never about that, it was always about me needing to fall in love with her – which I did. She is in the middle of everything that we all do now as a family and is loved unconditionally, as it should be."
Scroll through to see some of Sian's pictures of Alice. You can buy the book, Looking For Alice, here.

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