Journey into Vincent Ferrané's MILKY WAY


Milk is “calm, white, lucid, the equal of reality,” wrote Roland Barthes. Milk “joins, covers, restores.” Milk is expansive. A bead of milk dripping from the nipple might in fact be a pearl peeking from an oyster shell, and a mother nursing her child might be a queen with her prince. In French photographer Vincent Ferrané’s new book Milky Way pictures of his wife and child breastfeeding make a meditation on the universality of the practice, and, somehow, the universe.

The images are chronological and consistent in lighting and texture, presenting a cinematically beautiful logbook. But each page is a new feeling, capturing the bumps and wrinkles of motherhood and intimacy, a site of open-ended variation like the human body itself. Ferrané’s camera tracks his wife and their baby, and their bodies, as they hold one another in a tender tangle of skin, sit dwarfed under a wall of family portraits, and are transmuted into their symbols—a breast pump, a spit-up stain. Interludes of still landscapes remind us of the interiority and intimacy of the photobook, that these scenes are always happening but we cannot always see within.


Barthes was writing about milk as the antithesis to wine, what the French linguist saw as the nation’s totem-drink. Milk, however, is the totem drink of all. Ferrané’s treatment of his family’s experience is soft and rhythmic, and it is a book of moves we all know by heart.


To purchase a copy of Vincent Ferrané's Milky Way, click here.



Text by Greta Rainbow

More on culture