What draws me consistently to this subject matter is simply that it’s one of the most human experiences imaginable; genuinely photojournalistic, undirected, raw and real emotions. No expectations, no copycatting, no Pinterest board requests. Just a pure and honest capture of what really happens. I’ll share my perspective here following my first “birth story”, and give some artistic insights should The Reader be someone considering coverage for such a beautiful occasion.
I am very, very blessed to have been available to photograph this beautiful event. Any time someone requests birth coverage from me, I feel blessed. It’s such a huge thing. My main takeaway from the experience is that if you are a nostalgic-minded individual who just adores remembering those first short-lived moments of the very first joy you encountered seeing your child for the first time ever, you just can’t afford not to have these moments captured. You’d be missing such sweet, genuine, emotional photographs the hospital photographer simply cannot give you (their business model is different, and they don’t offer birth services typically). Every time I remember the day my son was born, I wish and wish I would have had someone there to capture real emotions, not the snapshot images my family took. Sorry, family — I love those images because they’re all I have now, but the emotion is just not fully there.
I must thank Mrs. Jessica Flores-Washington (a previous client) for giving me the opportunity to photograph she and her husband, Ben, on the day their son, Benjamin, was born. As soon as she invested her confidence in me to be there on birth day, I had my bag packed, backup batteries charged and family members notified that I was on call for the job. I was prepared to shoot at weird hours and be there for however long I was needed. I hoped to be available during Prime Time: active labor, delivery and emotions shared first meeting baby.
I don’t think I’d be comfortable with this subject matter if I hadn’t already given birth myself. I think many mothers-to-be feel it’s an odd time for professional photography (also feeling their least photogenic), or that they simply don’t want items of graphic or personal nature photographed. To each her own. But in my design, the most graphic image covered is a slimy baby fresh out of the womb.
Birth photography is not about the anatomy of birth or what you look like going through it; it’s about life happening, that brief moment in which a parent first sees their offspring, a moment which very rarely is captured, and can never again be reenacted.
I always had in mind to design birth photography not graphically but emotionally. My focus is never the specifics of how the baby enters the world, it’s the emotions which parents and families share surrounding the occasion. Those are priceless, priceless captures. Seriously, I cried when I saw this happening in front of me. I cried when editing these images. And also while proofreading this blog post! Faces, reactions, expressions, hands clasping, fingers touching, brand new family connections being made. Fathers looking at babies wondering who this baby will become as he grows. It’s so new. It’s so raw and so real. The best part is that I’m purely an observer, and these emotions are authentic and tear-jerking without me having to direct someone to turn and face each other and “give me this feeling!” That’s what the birth story is all about. It’s so great!