Irene Alison

La madre attesa (The expected mother)

edited by Laia Abril

2023, Hardcover, Italian
16,5x22,5 cm, 168 pages
ISBN: 9788831363518

€ 35,00 - New releases
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Mummy, shall we pretend that I am little again like when I came out of your tummy?
Darling, you do remember that you didn’t come out of my tummy, don’t you?
Yes mummy, but who cares?We can pretend.

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La madre attesa (The expected mother) is a journey, the one that brought little Lina Isabel from Bogota to her new home in Rome. But it is also the journey of Irene Alison who adopted Isabel in 2019. A journey through motherhood, a novel in images, expertly created and edited by the author, thanks to which she discovered another self, one she didn't even believe existed.

On October 23, 2019 I met my daughter for the first time. She was five years old, wearing a pink polyester dress and hair that seemed to be sewn to her head in a million little braids. As a mother, I was born within the walls of an office in a low building in Bogotá, Colombia, decorated for the occasion with balloons that, a few minutes earlier, my husband and I had rushed to inflate, with shortness of breath and throat dry with emotion. After a three and a half year journey along the arduous paths of adoption, our moment had finally arrived: the meeting with the long-awaited little girl. But what I thought was a landing place turned out to be a starting point. Regardless of genetic affiliation, the relationship between a mother and child may not be love at first sight. Having a child – even if desired and conquered with the determination that adoption requires – does not mean becoming a mother. This discovery, after so much effort to get to meet, made me feel empty, inadequate, angry, guilty.


With these words Irene Alison opens her book, but also a debate. On the difficulty of becoming a mother, of losing one's independence to dedicate oneself completely to another person. But above all on the path of building a new identity, that of a mother, a path that is not always easy and free of obstacles. Tiredness, the sense of inadequacy, the fear of not being able to complete the task of being a mother every day, clash with the strongest emotions, with the love that only a bond like that between mother and daughter can create. In this swing of emotions and sensations the author questions herself, telling the reader — through a selection of images chosen from the hundreds she has taken in recent years — about her new, long and beautiful journey, in which one never stops learning.

Throughout this journey, photography was the language with which I tried to speak to her when I felt like I had no words, it was the bridge thanks to which I began to get closer to her, when it seemed to me that an unbridgeable distance separated us.

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Irene Alison
(Napoli, 1977) Professional journalist and photo-consultant, she is the creative director of DER*LAB consulting and photographic design studio. Irene teaches at the European Institute of Design (IED) in Rome and collaborates as a tutor and consultant with some of the major Italian photography schools (Isfci, Rufa, Scuola Romana di Fotografia in Rome and Studio Marangoni Foundation in Florence, among others). As editor, she has worked for il Manifesto and for D, La Repubblica delle Donne . As a freelance she has created, together photographers, visual stories featured in Geo France, The Independent, l’Espresso, D, XL, Marie Claire and Riders . Her articles have been published by publications such as La Lettura - Il Corriere della Sera , Il Sole 24 ore and Pagina99 . She has published two in-depth photographic essays, My generation (Postcart, 2012) and iRevolution (Postcart, 2014). In 2022 she published in the US for Yoffy Press Holding Time , a book created together with photographer Catherine Panebianco, of which Irene is the author of the texts. Her first photographic book ( La Madre Attesa , edited by Laia Abril) and her new essay Muse col Muso, animal imagery in contemporary photography are expected to be released by Postcart in 2022. She loves animals, and their cultural and iconographic representations, and she talks about them in her blog about her Zazie Dogzine.


Irene Alison, Marie Claire, 16/09/2023
L'adozione è una storia di corpi e di anticorpi

Redazione, RTL 102.5, 21/07/2023
La madre attesa. Da Bogotá a Roma con Lina Isabel

Jessica Barresi, FOTO Cult ON AIR, 11/07/2023
Irene Alison e Claudio Corrivetti raccontano "La madre attesa"

Michele Smargiassi, L’Albero Verde - CIAI, 01/07/2023
La madre attesa

Michele Smargiassi, Robinson - Repubblica, 13/05/2023
Figlia della luna