If you’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Sorgini, you’re sure to have seen some of her work – most notably, her recent photographic series ‘Behind Glass’, which has been featured on The New Yorker, National Geographic and TIME.
An artist currently living on Bundjalung country near Byron Bay with her partner and two young children, Lisa’s work is intimate, thought-provoking and deeply sentimental. Her ability to capture personal moments, specifically between mother and child, is inimitable with her work achieving global recognition and acclaim.
At Natalie Marie Jewellery, as we’re sure you know, creating significant and sentimental pieces of jewellery and telling the stories of our customers is at the core of our business, so we relate deeply to the inspiration of some of Lisa’s work. We’re so thrilled to have been able to chat with her to find out a little bit more about her process and her life as a mother and a photographer.
You recently shot a series ‘Behind Glass’ where you captured moments of motherhood from the windows of your subjects’ homes. Where did this idea come from?
The series came about after the initial Stage 4 lockdown measures that were implemented in NSW. Like so many, I found myself out of my paid work with no sense of when and if it would return, and home each and every moment with my two boys (Ari is 5 and Elio was then 9 months). My partner Sebastian was the one who suggested I make some personal work during this period to help give me an outlet. I found those days with my kids both beautiful in their simplicity and completely exhausting - and realised that if I was feeling this way, that other mothers would be facing the same challenges, so I decided to make some work that reflected this.
A lot of your work is of mother and child, what is it that you find so captivating about this particular subject?
My journey into motherhood was the most transformative and challenging period of my life to date. I lost my mother when my first son was 9 months old and in that first hazy year of becoming a mother myself, and the surrender and beauty that is caring for a new life, at the same time I also navigated my mother's illness and the end of life, it was a time of profound and difficult emotions and growth.
Around this period, I discovered that to document my life with my children served as a way to process my own feelings and also preserve my own memories of my experience as a mother, the melt of time has never felt quite as apparent as when you have your rapidly growing children to gauge it by. This exploration eventually led to me to work with other mothers and their children and I found a common thread in the experiences of motherhood in all of its complexity, messiness and beauty - which I still find endlessly inspiring.
Behind Glass was deservingly featured on several international sites, including The New Yorker. Did you ever imagine this series to garner so much attention?
Thank you, yes it has honestly been entirely surreal. As I mentioned, this work was really just a way for me to cope personally and so to see it resonate with so many around the world and to be interviewed by TIME and The New Yorker has been incredible and entirely unexpected.
The Covid pandemic has been such a whirlwind of emotions – how have you found solace in such unsettling times?
In a lot of ways it has had a positive side for me. Structures and systems that seemed like the only way to do things have crumbled and made way for the opportunity to try things in a more positive way. I have had to let go of the idea of certainty and not plan too far ahead which has been a great lesson for me and made me more mindful.
When did you decide to pursue a career in photography? Was it always in the cards for you?
I was in my early 20s and had just moved to Melbourne on a whim, having left a relationship and a comfortable but mind-numbing life in Brisbane. I sold my very crappy car in the move and with the money I got for it, I bought my first camera and taught myself how to use it.
As a business owner and a mother, how do you juggle the two?
Mostly pretty messily, like the rest of us. Some days I feel completely on top of everything and then others the sheer number of tasks to be done and people/ things requiring my attention leave me utterly overwhelmed.
Best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
If you don't set your own boundaries no one else will do it for you.
What are you currently reading / listening to?
I always tend to have a few books on the go. Currently reading - Growing up Aboriginal in Australia / Hold Still - Sally Mann / Sad Mum Lady - Ashe Davenport. Listening to - Jessica Pratt, 7am podcast, and a whole lot of white noise (to help my baby sleep)
Jewellery to us, is both an investment and art. Something deeply sentimental with the power to evoke memories or tell a story. What does jewellery mean to you?
Jewellery is the ultimate in personal taste and style and almost becomes part of the wearer. I am sure most people can remember as a child the jewellery their mother or grandmother wore.
What do your NMJ pieces mean to you?
They are so beautiful and delicate and they serve as a constant reminder of my own fragility and strength.