An Ordinary Story from A Mother's Diary
Shindy Lestari (Indonesia)

"An Ordinary Story from A Mother's Diary" is a mixed-media photograph that captures the real and staged emotions as I reflect on the highs and lows of my journey in learning to be a mother to my son.

At the end of 2022, I decided to leave my day job as a family restaurant manager and commit myself to being a stay-at-home mother. Undeniably, the joy of spending time with my child also brought about feelings of anxiety at the same time. I was anxious about the journey of becoming a mother, which was related to the limitations of my freedom as a woman. I, who was used to freely exploring ideas in my mind, now had to learn to find peace and stay creative while confined to the same space every day, which is our home. I started to photograph every idea, emotion, and situation that we had at home. I poured my restlessness as a mother with a toddler, by combining our everyday portraits with some organic waste from our domestic activities, since I do the cooking every day.

Without any adhesive, I strive to work on this photo project as organically as possible. I want to express the patience and quiet I feel as I go through the mom process. If what has been arranged suddenly falls apart because of one reason or another, then I will repeat it. Then, I will photograph it again to form a new dimension.

I feel that the journey of becoming a mother is not just about a change in social status but also a personal transformation of my identity. By doing this waste and printed portrait combination treatment I use as a metaphor for my limited mobility as a woman, the traces we produce from our interactions as a mother and child, and also the realization of how significant kitchen waste that we produce from domestic activities such as cooking and consuming fruits and vegetables. Even sometimes, the amount of food we buy exceeds our capacity to consume it. This therapeutic photography practice has helped me become more conscious and has encouraged my small family to know how many is enough, especially in consuming food.


Shindy Lestari is an Indonesian photographer based in Bali. Since 2017 she has participated in several photography workshops in the Philippines and Indonesia. In 2021 she started focusing her work on family and women's issues as she began her journey as a mother. In 2023 her self-portrait of motherhood was included in the book Eye Mama: Poetic Truths of Home and Motherhood, published by teNeues Verlag GmbH. She also had the opportunity to participate in JIPFest 2023: Generation held in Jakarta.