IF THERE IS one good thing that has come out of the referendum on the 8th Amendment, it’s that people have gotten incredibly creative. We’ve had everything from knitting to murals to comedy and absolutely everything in between.
Photographer Molly Keane has decided to take her own slant and has adopted a ‘Humans of New York’ approach to the referendum. The project is called ‘Humans of Repeal’ where she photographs someone campaigning for the repeal of the 8th Amendment and asks them why they’re doing it. The result is some very gorgeous and poignant photos indeed.
‘I am way more informed now than I used to be. Voting yes is the only way forward- for Irish women and for getting rid of the intrusive legacy of church and state. I now fully understand that it is a woman’s choice, and a medical right to access this healthcare. Before, I was coming from an utterly privileged perspective, because I have never been in a crisis pregnancy situation. My three healthy pregnancies and my family were utterly planned and wanted. I was fortunate, but there are so many women who are not.’ (HUMANS OF REPEAL, Alison) #HumansOfRepeal #Together4Yes #TogetherForYes #RepealThe8th #Repealproject #Portrait #YesforRepeal
Speaking to DailyEdge.ie Molly explained where the idea came from.
Humans of New York is one of my favourite ongoing photography projects, and the style in which I conducted my project is inspired by that. I took natural, mostly candid portraits of people of all ages and genders who were in support of voting Yes to Repeal and then interviewed them to ask them why they were voting yes, and what their reasons were.’
The response to her project has been insane with over 130 people offering their services. In the end Molly could only accept 30 people as she only wants to post one or two photos a day. It seems everyone wants to help out in any way they can.
There is such a sense of community within the pro-choice groups and people who are pro-choice, and everyone wants to do everything they can to help out.”
'Ireland is a place that in the last few months has become increasingly scary and unsafe for women, for example with the result of the Belfast rape trial, and we need to show that we support women by voting yes to Repealing the 8th. It’s nobody’s business what anybody does with their body, so if a woman is pregnant and decides she wants to have an abortion she should be able to. Everyone deserves to have a choice. Abortion happens anyway in Ireland every day so it’s about making it safe. The 8th is affecting women’s health. You shouldn’t be so stubborn about your own personal views when women are being harmed, are dying and have to go on planes. We need to show more empathy and try to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.' (HUMANS OF REPEAL, BEN) #8thref #repealproject #repealthe8th #togetherforyes #portrait #Repeal #HumansofRepeal #HONY #HumansofNewYork #Irishtimes #Irishindependent
There have been a lot of projects that have attempted to sway people who may be on the fence about their vote. Molly’s ‘Humans of Repeal’ is incredibly simple yet powerful and hammers home why a yes vote is so important to so many people.
I want these portraits to get as much recognition as possible to hopefully reach out to people who are perhaps undecided, and show them the many different reasons as to why it’s important to vote yes.”
'Although personally, abortion is never something I would choose for myself, I am very pro-choice because I understand that even if you are against abortion, it’s going to happen. Anyone with half a brain can see the impact it has on women; the awful effect the 8th amendment has and the trauma and shame it creates in this country.' (HUMANS OF REPEAL, Elena) #HumansOfRepeal #Together4Yes #TogetherForYes #RepealThe8th #Repealproject #Portrait #YesforRepeal
The feedback has been mostly positive too.
I’ve gotten some very rude comments from people who are anti-choice, but I’ve also gotten a lot of private messages from people telling me that the project has helped them see a different side as to why they should vote yes, which really makes me happy.”
The importance of projects like this cannot be overstated. Photographs have way of reaching people unlike any other media. Molly just wants to make a difference and ‘Humans of Repeal’ is her way of contributing to the campaign.
I’m doing this project for every woman in Ireland. Every woman who at the moment does not have the choice. Every woman who is shamed in her own country for deciding what she does with her own body. For every woman who is afraid to speak up for herself. If my Humans of Repeal portraits convince even a few people to vote yes, I will be so proud of everyone who took part in the project, because every single vote counts.”
You can see all of the portraits over on Molly’s Instagram. We’ll be following it closely until referendum day anyway.
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