REDEFINE | Real Mother Feature by Alyson Aliano, Photographer

“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
 Tell us about what drives your work, How did you get started?

I try to tell authentic stories with my work. With this series, it is stories of all different families, how their families are defined, what goes into raising their children, and where they find their community.

I got started with this project because I first was assigned a story, for Time Magazine about Mothers, whose businesses developed from being mothers; a children’s furniture business, children’s’ knitted clothing, etc.  

what connects you to this project 

I am connected to this project because I am a stepmom of twin girls. I started this project when they were about 9 years, this was about 4 years of being their stepmom. Mostly, I started this project in hopes of learning what motherhood is. Because I am a stepmom, I often felt many people did not see me as a “Real Mother,” because I was not their birth mother.

What were the challenges for you, at the beginning of this series?
Challenges for me, are and were not at the beginning of the series, but more as it went on, where to go next (the US regionally), saving money to do so, being inclusive of all types of moms, ethnicities, and cultures, which means finding these moms, and now, trying to finish it. (I have to go to the South in the US and try and find a publisher).

Why are you passionate about this topic?

I am passionate because I am a mom. I feel there are many things US families need to be able to support their children; affordable health care paid family leave, affordable, quality (higher) education, and a gender equal society, in which women are making as much money as their male counterparts. All families need support.

What  the tips  would share with anyone regarding your approach to capturing mothers in this way

When I am photographing, (and in life), I try to connect with someone on an intimate level. When you can share parts of yourself and your own vulnerabilities, people will let themselves be seen.



Aly is a commercial and editorial photographer based in Los Angeles. Originally from New York City, she graduated from The School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Photography. She has lectured and taught at The School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, NYU and UCLA. Her clients include Rolling StoneWiredLos Angeles Magazine, Airbnb, New York Magazine,London Times Magazine and New York Times Magazine.



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