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Me, Myself and Eye


Me, Myself and Eye Home   //  Leslie Elsasser - Introduction   //  Selina Roman - Mind Currents   //  Michael Ball   //  TC Bryant   //  Larry Busby   //  David Canaday   //  Michael Congdon   //  Brandie Dziegiel   //  Loretta Fields   //  Jeaniel Image   //  Douglas Eric Jordan   //  Valerie Larson   //  John Leduc   //  Jason Lind   //  Mikko Maki   //  Alex Martinez   //  Matias   //  Noemys McConnell   //  Megan O’Connell   //  Robert Ortega   //  Adaina Plaza   //  Pat Randall   //  Heather Rivera   //  RaeAnne Swanson   //  Michael Webb


Jeaniel Image, Motherhood in the Military, 2020

Jeaniel Image, Motherhood in the Military, 2020


Motherhood in the Military

A look into motherhood is very different when you’re looking at it through the lens of a mother serving in the military. It is not often that the image of America’s military is depicted in the way it really should be, open and honest. When I started this class, I did not expect it to turn out the way it did. I found myself becoming frustrated with trying to create scenes and portraits that were pristine and perfect. At the end of the day I was tired from the day’s work and still had my roles and responsibilities as a mother and a spouse. The last thing I wanted to do was capture images of our worn and tattered lives as a military family. The unkept room filled with items from our daily routines, small memorabilias left in plain sight to keep us grounded and remind us of what we have been through. Then there is the look of skepticism, or is it a look of surrender? For me it was both: I became skeptical of what my role as a mother should look like. I surrendered to the thought of what America’s military should look like. Breaking Barriers has forced me to look in on myself as a person, as a mother, as a military spouse, and even as an artist, and not at what society thinks these roles should be: instead looking at them for what they really are, and what those roles mean to me. 

Motherhood has been by far the most emotional, challenging, and toughest job I have ever done. To do it while serving in the military has been fraught with heartache, pain, sacrifice, and loss. Capturing how these two lives converge was something I did not think would be reflected in my own self-image. Looking back on this image and reflecting on my experience in the military and my life as a mother I see now that both roles have some mirroring characteristics. Such as, leading your unit down the right path, is like leading and teaching your children to make the right decisions in any circumstance. The irony in my service in the military is the disbelief that I have my own children at home while I still serve. Leaving them behind while I spend my days overseas has been a conversation of shame and revulsion by other moms. Filled with comments such as “I can’t believe you left your babies for that long,” and followed by questions like; “your husband is ok, with that?” these comments leave me feeling less than a mother. Although, many of these comments are said with good intention and concern they still cut like a knife, knowing that my service in the military is by choice not by force. A choice I whole heartedly decided for myself and for my family. As I hold my daughter close to me, I cherish her, and I am confident in my decision to support her and her siblings in this way. I look at my uniform and feel assured that I have made an impact on the sailors I serve with and the communities we have been to. 

I ask that you look at this picture and not shame the mother pictured here. Instead, think of the countless men and women serving in our nation’s great military. Take in everything you see; me breast feeding my baby, the uniform, the medications on the nightstand, the look on my face, my husband’s dog tags, and everything else in the image. In the military it is expected we are squared away, organized and perfect in everything we do; at home our families are not that picture-perfect image. Reshape the image of America’s military; we are one of the most diverse organizations in the country. With all nationalities serving along side each other in some of the hardest of times, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I dare you to see the challenges faced by these military families, the sacrifice involved for each family touched by a single military member. In addition, do not shame dads for taking on mom roles while his spouse is serving, instead support him; these men are stepping up to the plate to support our military. The military has been evolving in amazing ways and still has a long way to go, for our country to continue to be a nation of innovation and change for good. We can continue to move in a positive direction if we change our perspective and become more open minded in the way we give value to these roles in society. Parenting is hard enough as it is; support our moms in the military for their choice to serve, and support their spouses for being single parents while they are gone. 



Jeaniel Image, Mother of all Plastics, 2020

Jeaniel Image, Mother of all Plastics, 2020

Jeaniel Image, Digital Selfie, Personal Data, 2020

Jeaniel Image, Digital Selfie, Personal Data, 2020



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at
or Ashley Jablonski at

Breaking Barriers 2020 is supported by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Love IV Lawrence, Hillsborough Arts Council, and the Florida Department of State.