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Creative Mothers

Dunja Opalko is a London-based photographer, specialising in portrait, interior, and documentary photography for both editorial and commercial clients.  Her approach to photography is capturing mood and a feeling while maintaining a great emphasis on authenticity and intimacy.  She combines her love of people and places to document the nuances of individuals, businesses, and their surroundings.

During 2023 Dunja embarked on a very personal project close to her heart “Creative Mothers”, a series of portraits portraying moments of calm in the busy lives of self-employed creative women emphasising a sense of true strength, love and connection between mother and child.  Dunja new series of portraits looks to both celebrate mothers in the creative industries and gently highlight the difficulties of juggling a passionate career with the realities of parenthood. 

“I had my daughter in June 2020. The truth is, everything has changed overnight: my body, my mind, my perception of time and my priorities. Being a self-employed photographer, I realised how challenging it is for women running their own business, especially a creative business, while raising kids. The task of driving forward a career - and finding the time and headspace to create - while tending to the vast and varied needs of children, is not for the fainthearted. That said, there’s also a beautiful synergy between motherhood and creativity, perhaps partly due to a heightened sense of courageousness and belief in one’s abilities, not to mention increased productivity”. - Dunja

Writer Tessa Pearson is running interviews alongside Dunja’s project to tell the individual and inspiring stories, capturing honest views, and reflecting upon the struggles and complexities of combining motherhood with a creative career.  

Dunja’s project was shot throughout 2023 and features women include: Artist Lakwena with her sons Makelo and Aroko, set designer Amy Friend with her son Raf, Photographer Ola O Smit with her daughter Zoe, artist Laxmi Hussain with her children Zain, Layra & Eden, actress Gala Botero with her daughter Penelope, blogger Liv Purvis, Beyond Nine founder Naomi Raybould, Yemi Awosile with her son Ezra, vintage specialist Laura von Behr with her daughter Lena, writer Alice Vincent with her son Corin and our very own Lauren Wood with her daughters Isla and Zadie.


"The biggest inspiration for me were all the individuals involved in this, all the women and children bring something unique to this project. Everyone’s story is different but what they all have in common is the unconditional love towards their children as well as their profession". - Dunja

Written by Lucy Pickavance

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