Mother-daughter relationship - two women who look alike lying on a bed in opposite directions, their heads next to each other.
All Photos: Lucia Jost

Intimate Photos that Celebrate the Mother-Daughter Relationship

In Lucia Jost's photography, women are depicted as individuals caught in the liminal space between friendship and family.

This article originally appeared on VICE Germany.

Bettina lies on the couch between her daughters Lilja and Pina, photographed in fits of laughter. Immortalised in each others’ arms on the couch, the trio look like friends at a sleepover. But Bettina isn’t Lilja and Pina’s mate – she’s their mother.


Can a mother also be a friend? That’s what the photo series Das Muttertier (“The Mother Animal”) by Berlin-based photographer Lucia Jost asks. Jost’s work captures the closeness and vulnerability of the mother-daughter relationship without reducing either party to stereotype. In her series, mothers and daughters are portrayed less like clichés and more like individuals who exist in the space between relative authority and intimacy.

Jost, who already published a series about young mothers last year, decided not to photograph them with their sons this time around, to really focus on one of the most important relationships in her own life. “I noticed that the older I get, the more my mother sees herself in me,” she tells VICE. “At the same time, I've also started to understand her better and better. After all, every mum was once a daughter.” 

Mother-daughter relationship - left: Bettina (platinum blond hair and red lipstick) laughing with her daughters (mid-length hair, colourful clothes). Right: the three of them posing together.

Bettina, a designer with her daughters Lilja, an actress, and Pina, a carpenter.

Jost’s photos represent this ongoing cycle and documents what she describes as her ongoing fascination with “women in all their facets”, motherhood being just one of them. She says that she’s endlessly impressed by the emotional and physical dedication required to raise a child: “I don't like it when mothers are put in a box. They are, above all, strong and loving women, and I want to celebrate them for that.”


Scroll down to see more photos:

Mother-daughter relationship - left: Heike (short hair and dark blue overalls) standing in her kitchen as Emma (short, curly hair and a western shirt) uses the sink. Right: the two posing together, Heike's head on Emma's shoulder.

Costume designer Heike with her daughter Emma, a film student.

Mother-daughter relationship - Left: Pascale (shaved head, wearing lose-fitting clothes and a statement necklace) sitting in her living room with Kaya (tall and lean, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt) standing behind her. Right: Kaya sitting in Pascale's lap, both looking sternly at camera.

Make-up artist Pascale with her daughter Kaya, an educator.

Mother-daughter relationship - left: Dakota lying on the bed, her head in her mum's lap as she's reading a book. Right: Dakota and Annette with their heads next to each other. The women look very alike, both with long black curly hair and in loungewear.

Annett, a healthcare worker with her stylist daughter Dakota.

Mother-daughter relationship - left: Catalina (long blond hair in a very high ponytail, trendy outfit) standing next to an open fridge with her mother crouching in front of it and her son sitting on top of it. Right: Catalina and Julia (blond bob and a turtleneck) sitting next to each other, with Julia looking at her daughter.

Comedy writer Julia with her daughter Catalina, who studies political science, and her son Xavi.

Mother-daughter relationship - left: Bernadette (blond bob and a striped dress) sitting at a desk while her daughter Ella (short blond bob, green top and black pants) sits on the ground and lights a cigarette. Right: the two women lying on their sides in opposite directions with guitars in the background.

Bernadette, a musician, with her daughter Ella, a student.

Mother-daughter relationship - Left: Luise and Kathrin sitting at a kitchen table, Kathrin lying across it. Right: Kathrin sitting in her mother's lap. The women look alike, with short brown hair and blue eyes.

Graphic designer Kathrin with her daughter Luise, a textile designer student.

Mother-daughter relationship - Left: Sabine, Geronima and Oceana sitting at a table right next to each other, the latter smoking a cigarette. Left: The two daughters hugging their mother's arms. All three women have brown hair.

Dance teacher Sabine with her daughters Geronima, a farmer and Oceana, a tailor.