In March 2017, Washington-based photographer and artist Susana Butterworth suffered a terrible loss. Her son, Warren, was stillborn.
Following the painful experience, Susana realised that people did not usually talk about what it felt like to lose a child.
To address this, she started the Empty Photo Project, where she photographs parents who have lost a child, in any form, by holding a mirror in front of their stomachs. She later edits the photographs giving the visual effect of a hole representing the emptiness that losing a child or children leaves behind in the lives of parents.
On her website, Susana writes, "After losing my son in March of 2017, I felt alone in my grieving. I thought that no one could understand what it was like losing a child. It seemed like all of the newfound hopes and dreams I had died right along with my son’s little body. The emptiness was heavy."
"Hoping to create a dialogue," she adds, "I started the Empty Photo Project. I want to approach child loss head on. I want to give it a face and show the community that those who’ve lost children are all around us, often without our knowing. It’s real. Let’s not shy away from talking about it."
People she photographs are also asked to provide a description of "what their 'empty' looks like and what it means personally.
"For Susana herself, the meaning of empty had evolved since she lost her son.
"'Empty' means so much more to me [now] than it did when I first started this project," she told BabyBased.com. “'Empty' means filling the void of loss with connection and people that I love. 'Empty' means remembering that my wounds of losing my son aren't covered up and forgotten; they are praised, loved, and worthy of showing. 'Empty' means that I have the knowledge and experience to be a caring and compassionate woman to others who know what empty feels like."
To view more of the artist's work, visit her Instagram page.