I Need Your Help Choosing A Cover for "The Bodies Of Mothers" Please

(Cover Idea #5)

I received an email today from a beautiful woman voicing concern about the image she thought I might be using as my 'cover' image for my book The Bodies Of Mothers.  The image she thought I was going to use is Cover Idea #3 in this list of images with the tattoos and gorgeous stripes from growing 3 lives.  The woman who wrote me expressed that she thought it was too much like what is already accepted in our culture as beautiful (meaning the woman is 'thin and young' and white) and thought it was both un-powerful and not a good choice to convey my 'redefining beautiful' message.  It got me thinking and while I don't necessarily agree with everything she wrote I do strongly agree with some of what she expressed to me.  Plus I love listening to other people's ideas and I would love to hear your ideas.  

Here are 6 ideas, all numbered below the image, including the image above these words.

The book is going to be 12x12 inches, sustainable paper and printed in the USA.

Ultimately, I want the most powerful image (big surprise).  An image which attracts people to he book who don't even know about this project while encouraging those who own it to keep it out in the open as opposed to hiding it away in a book shelf because perhaps nudity might offend them or their family.  I want it to REACH as many people as possible before they dismiss this work based on a cover.  INSIDE the book there are nudes and there is a wide representation of women.

Please tell me your thoughts.  Each image has a number underneath and if you feel so inspired , please comment why you do or don't like what number, and I would be eternally grateful for this collective of ideas on how to make the most powerful and inviting book cover for this profound work that tells the story for so very very many of us.

**Please note these cover ideas are all sketches/drafts.  The font etc will most likely change.**


(*Stephanie* cover Idea #2)


(*S* Cover idea #3)


(*Jane* Cover Idea #4)


(*Kasthuri* Cover Idea #5)


(*Lulani* Cover Idea #6)

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Showing 82 reactions

commented 2014-05-17 16:34:54 -0700 · Flag
Your photos are magnificent! I love them all. Thank you so much for your efforts in showing the world what happens to women’s bodies after creating the future.
I pick #6 because of the sheer representations of unconditional love of the woman and her sacrifice. Her bodies perfection for the children brought into the world by her. What a small price to pay……for unconditional love.
commented 2014-02-04 13:43:27 -0700 · Flag
I love 5 the best, because it is the baby we focus on, with those divine eyes.
that said, you want to focus on the body of the mom, so probably NOT the best for the cover! :-)
commented 2014-01-22 14:31:50 -0700 · Flag
I love #3. It really draws me in and is unique looking to me. The beautiful stretch marks! I feel like this woman has turned the stretch marks into a work of art. I like #5, but is a normal picture that I have of myself with my baby – so not very unique and I am sure there are many other books with the same kind of pose. I like #6, but doesn’t make me want to pick up the book.
commented 2014-01-19 05:28:13 -0700 · Flag
Man !
Sorry my english not good enough to be more explicit but…

Thé cover #3 don’t let imagine how good, how sensible and empathic ils jour work.

The picture in #3 ils very fine but i.m.h.o is not representative…
…we see a Nice looking mother, young, independant (‘cause toattoes) with a light trace of maternity, this lecture ils a vert soft exemple of jour work ans i’m ont sûre people will open thé book to discover wat’s going on into the book.

Kind regards.

commented 2014-01-18 14:50:42 -0700 · Flag
I think that if the book has to reach out to many more people than those who already like you, Jade, then the message needs to be soft, and gentle, in order to be accepted. Leave the revolutionary part for the inside pages. Cover #6, the favorite of many readers, is beautiful but too private for me, it’s a picture mothers can relate with but I am not going to leave this book around my house: I know my husband would feel uncomfortable if I leave it on a coffee table when his friends and business relations are around, and it would embarass my teenage son too. #3 is in my opinion the photo that is best suited to become your book cover: slightly more neutral than the other images maybe, but those big, visible, yet beautiful stretchmarks clearly convey the message.

For me a good alternative would be cover#5: extraordinary image, the quintessence of motherhood. I insist that the cover should be acceptable to all, there are all the inside pages then to make the message explicit.

Congratulations on your excellent work! Saluti,
Chiara P. from Italy
commented 2014-01-17 02:54:13 -0700 · Flag
  1. : but the choice is hard ! What a beautiful work !
commented 2014-01-16 23:43:43 -0700 · Flag
  1. one is my favorite.
commented 2014-01-16 16:34:49 -0700 · Flag
Go with your original intuition!! Although #6 is my favourite photo out of all of these, I don’t think its a photo for the cover. I find it a bit busy, I feel it would put a percentage of people off reading the book and it still follows the same things the lady observed in your original pick. I find #3 is enticing, it leaves you curious, wanting to know more. I believe #3 ticks all the boxes of what you stated you desire in a cover. In #6, as far as a cover, your eyes don’t know what direction to go… there isn’t a focal point. In #3, your eyes naturally follow the flow of the title to the beautiful body.
commented 2014-01-16 15:21:22 -0700 · Flag
#6. it connects, to all the warmth and inclusion that we as humans associate with mothers and motherhood. It opens hearts to stretchmarks and the and the unbearable holiness of a forlorn breast
commented 2014-01-16 14:59:32 -0700 · Flag
  1. is beautiful as they all are in their own way. You must sell books in order for this project to have any lasting effect and generate interest in Your ideas. This huge problem with the way we see ourselves crosses all race and color barriers. These fences are tall and You cannot jump them all at once. But I encourage You to focus on Your project and not allow everyone’s issues to confuse You. As artist we cannot save the world nor can we be watered down with the unending flow of people who want us to speak for them. It is our duty to color the flag of the movement. It is their duty to pick up that flag and wear it to work. What you are doing is enough for You. These books are being laid as stones for people to walk on to get across their own troubles. That is grand enough.
commented 2014-01-16 13:29:20 -0700 · Flag
commented 2014-01-16 13:27:52 -0700 · Flag
commented 2014-01-16 12:34:38 -0700 · Flag
1—feels all about the breasts to me.

2—beautiful celebration of pregnancy. Not the most on-target representation for the focus of the project.

3—Feels particularly “headless” in that way I (and others) notice is so common in pictures/art of women, esp. pregnant women. I like the other photo of this woman better—showing her amazing stretch-mark pattern and just the front side of her tattoo. This one is more about the tattoo.

4—wonderful photo of breastfeeding. I don’t even notice her belly showing its history because I am focused on the gorgeous baby and the wonderful look on the mother’s face. This one would be culture-challenging as a cover also because of the breastfeeding & nipple-tweaking. Again, it doesn’t feel most representative of your project.

5—gorgeous photo of motherhood. More about the spirit than the body. Least challenging cover photo, but I don’t think it would get the project across alone.

6—my choice by far. We are not just mothers but mothers OF people. This is an in-your-face image but so beautiful and filled with emotion. I think it really represents the aim of your project and book. If you have to crop the nipple (but not the areola) it still works, though the cropping makes the right side of the photo look a bit weird. (You can’t crop that smile!) I think this is it.
commented 2014-01-15 11:18:51 -0700 · Flag
I LOVE #6 and my second choice is #5! The love of the children in #6 is so touching. (but #4 reminds me of my own children! lol)
commented 2014-01-15 02:43:52 -0700 · Flag
Jade I adore #6. seeing the body afterwards alongside the lives it created is beautiful. You can see how much those kids love their mother. That’s the point really i think too, when you see something you made look at you with such admiration how could you not love yourself.
commented 2014-01-14 20:50:24 -0700 · Flag
commented 2014-01-14 15:42:59 -0700 · Flag
Wow! I am so late to this post, but I really love the images for #3 and #6.
commented 2014-01-14 10:12:43 -0700 · Flag
commented 2014-01-13 19:27:49 -0700 · Flag
  1. would be my choice! I love them all but #5 is my favourite for a cover.
commented 2014-01-10 17:52:30 -0700 · Flag
commented 2014-01-10 11:56:44 -0700 · Flag
Jade I love #5 and #6. I think #6 represents the way that women feel the rejection toward their own bodies even when the people that surround them often love them so unconditionally which has nothing to do with how their bodies have changed over time! #5 is just simply stunning and perfectly captures what motherhood actually feels like in those moments where it all makes sense…when the ways our bodies have changed don’t matter and we’re just one with those babies. I think these 2 resonate with me, personally, because they are some of the first I saw when I saw ABB Project on the Today Show over a year ago. They remind me of the way I was initially spellbound by the project and immediately started to follow your work…and slowly was healed
commented 2014-01-09 10:14:53 -0700 · Flag
I lOVE #6 because I could relate to that body being my own!
commented 2014-01-08 21:50:25 -0700 · Flag
6! For me, the fact that you haven’t captured her face makes it even easier to identify with her. That could be me!!! And the look on her childrens’ faces speaks wonders. They love this woman, regardless…they are in awe of her…simple as that.
commented 2014-01-07 12:24:53 -0700 · Flag
#6!!! That picture made me cry. It was the reason I contacted you Jade and flew all the way from Finland to be photographed for this project.I just LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture!!!
commented 2014-01-07 10:37:00 -0700 · Flag
“Ultimately, I want the most powerful image (big surprise). An image which attracts people to he book who don’t even know about this project while encouraging those who own it to keep it out in the open as opposed to hiding it away in a book shelf because perhaps nudity might offend them or their family. I want it to REACH as many people as possible before they dismiss this work based on a cover. INSIDE the book there are nudes and there is a wide representation of women.”

“The woman who wrote me expressed that she thought it was too much like what is already accepted in our culture as beautiful (meaning the woman is ‘thin and young’ and white) and thought it was both un-powerful and not a good choice to convey my ‘redefining beautiful’ message.”

These statements are in opposition to one another on some level… sadly.

I can see why this young woman is concerned. She is right. However, this is “redefining beautiful” because there does not exist any photos of women covered in stretch marks in books anywhere. This woman is a warrior mama and her body tells a story. If you truly want a powerful image that attracts people and that can be left out on the coffee table… a picture that is balanced, evokes curiosity and is anonymous and therefore can be easily related to… it is picture #3. The nudity piece is a challenging one and may not reach some of the individuals. Image #3 is beautiful because your photography makes it beautiful. It is liberating for all… not just “young, white, thin” women. It is a bold statement of self love which you are looking for. The absence of children helps women of all ages relate even deeper… including those that gave up babies for adoption…

My last word of advice, Jade, is to go with your heart. You can’t please anyone and I imagine you had a pretty clear gut feeling about the cover of your book. Trust yourself as we trust you. xo
commented 2014-01-05 19:33:19 -0700 · Flag
I love #6. It’s one of the first pictures of yours I saw and have loved it ever since. It beautifully shows how becoming a mother changes your body, forever. Not just right after the baby, as the two happy loving children show. Every time I see it it brings tears to my eyes making me think of my own two children and how I looked down on my own body for so long instead of viewing it as beautiful, wonderful and amazing. Because that’s what a mothers body really is. Thank you so much for all of your work. Thanks to you I am learning to love my body again, as it is now, instead of wishing it was what it used to be. Thank you so much.
commented 2014-01-05 11:04:21 -0700 · Flag
I have a slight preference for 4, 5 and 6, but actually love them all.
They each show a different aspect of motherhood.
Would it be possible to make a ‘medley’ of the photos as a cover?
commented 2014-01-05 03:06:20 -0700 · Flag
Number 4 ou number 5. I love these pictures!!
commented 2014-01-05 03:03:50 -0700 · Flag
I like 5 and 3 in that order, as the cover. 6 and 2 are actually my favourites but I’d love the book to be available with the cover outwards rather than going into an adult section or just having the edge on show, and knowing how some Americans are about breasts and nipples I make my choice accordingly.
commented 2014-01-04 12:06:04 -0700 · Flag
I absolutely love all these pictures, but it was #6 that I first saw and liked so much (and made me google you!) Next is #5 because the mother looks sooo happy and the baby is too cute!
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