My love for photography started in the 1990s when I inherited my grandfather’s old kodak instamatic film camera & was fascinated with the process of developing negatives in a friend’s home-made dark room.

It was also just before I was told the devastating news at 16 years old, that I had no uterus & would never be able to have a child of my own.

It took over 30 years before I was diagnosed with MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser) Syndrome Type 2, a rare genetic condition that affects 1 in 5000 women. Through the years photography has provided a way for me to escape for a moment & focus on something else away from the pain & complex grief of childlessness & has helped me stay connected to a sense of who I was before my MRKH journey started.

Pausing to appreciate the natural beauty in the world re-energizes my soul. I always wanted to take photography lessons, but the timing was never right, so I’ve just muddled through picking up little tid bits here & there. I was pretty surprised when an old high school friend contacted me in mid 2023 asking if I would be willing to provide some of my images as part of an upcoming exhibition in the UK. It is the first time I have ever exhibited any of my work, and just like making the decision to disclose that you have MRKH or are childless not by choice, I had to once again face my feelings of vulnerability & the thoughts of not being enough.

I am glad however that I took the step. It is an honour to be able to show off some of the beauty I have captured around my corner of the world. One of the images on exhibit shows my favourite tree, the Pohutukawa, taken on the shore of the bay where I nearly drowned as a young girl. But I didn’t, I lived, & just like the Pohutukawa, I grew strong from weathering the storms I have faced.

My hope is that by sharing these images it will inspire others to not only pick up a camera themselves, or pause every once in a while to appreciate nature a little bit more, but also give strength to others living with MRKH & who are CNBC, to let them know that they are not alone & no matter where their journey leads, be it motherhood, or a childless life, there is still purpose & value to be found. Aotearoa – Maori Myths & Legends of New Zealand, is a spotlight exhibition being held at the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, UK, until June 9th.

Emma-Mai xx