REPEAL (2017), a documentary photography project completed by photographer Laura Holmes, who is currently in her third year of Photography in DIT. The project was completed this time last year. It features a series of images from both the Repeal the 8th March and portraits shot during an intimate appointment with a pregnant woman. Laura was kind enough to give me some of her time and allow me to ask her a few questions both about the project, and where she stood on Repeal the 8th.
What made you want to do the project?
It was a really important topic at the time, it still is, but it was just around the time of the March for Repeal. It was really, really coming to large, everyone had their Repeal jumpers. I just thought it was really important to discuss.
How did you go about making the project? You shot some stuff with a pregnant woman as well.
So that was one of the first shoots I did. Basically just got onto Facebook, asked if anybody knew anyone who was pregnant who was going to any hospital appointments next week. A
friend of a friend…of a friend contacted me and said “Yeah, I’m pro-choice, heavily pregnant (like 3 days over due). I’ve got an appointment tomorrow if you want to come”. So that happened really, really fast. I went to that and she was absolutely lovely. We were waiting in the line for about 3 hours or something like that so lots of time to talk! So she was just sharing her views on Repeal the 8th and that even though she was pregnant, and she was pregnant by choice, she was very pro-choice. She explained that if the baby wasn’t viable, she would’ve gotten an abortion. She also explained how horrible it was that she wouldn’t have been able to have gotten it done at home and she would’ve needed to travel. Then there was the Repeal March, so that was another shoot. Basically I was just keeping up to date with events on Facebook and that kinda thing. There were a lot of talks and workshops as well.
And she had a Christian tattoo on her arm as well, didn’t she?
She did, so she actually had a Christian tattoo on her arm. Which I thought was quite interesting as well. A lot of the pro-life signs and adverts are actually funded by American Christians. But despite her being very much religious, still believed in abortion which was very telling.
Why is the Repeal the 8th movement important to you?
I’m a woman in Ireland and I would like to think that if I did fall pregnant through
whatever reason be it rape or whatever, that it was important that I could, if I had the choice, terminate the pregnancy. Whether that was through just an abortion pill or through a proper procedure. More importantly, I just think it’s all about the education. There are so many people who just do not understand it. It’s just literally about education and using contraception, and teaching people that it was going to have an affect. It’s really important to get educated before the referendum.
Was it difficult for you to complete the project, given that it deals with a heavy topic?
For me no, I had a very positive experience with the kind of shoots that I did. Obviously I was dealing with pro-choice people. Even at the march, there was such great atmosphere of people coming together and strength and speaking what they wanted to say. So for me it was a really exciting project to complete and if I could have just a little more information out there then that’d be great.
Finally, what do you think people could do to help support Repeal the 8th, with the upcoming referendum?
Definitely just educate yourself. I would say go onto any sort of abortion rights websites, the repeal movement, they are all over social media and just educate yourself on what women actually have to go through. It’s not just about terminating a pregnancy at however many weeks. If you can, you can buy badges and jumpers and all the proceeds go towards to funding the pro-choice campaign.