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Birth photography can help you capture the beauty and intensity of birth, and is revolutionary in a country where family is expected to keep outside the labour room!
In India, human birth is shrouded in mystery. India has seen days when the midwife quietly led the pregnant girl into a dark room with all blinds and windows closed while the husband and family nervously waited outside. It is now commonplace for deliveries to be conducted hastily in a large, noisy hospital room built to serve 12 pregnant women at a time, albeit the privacy tag attached to the whole process.
Several superstitions surround the birth of a child, including the ones which forbid photographing the newborn and most Indian men, to date, do not witness the birth of their children. While the birth of a child is considered a celebratory occasion in our culture, the delivery itself is considered a private, routine affair that a woman will experience with a bunch of hospital staff.
Birth photography is taking its first steps in India, but is long way from becoming mainstream. A lot of women believe that witnessing the birth of their children is restricted to immediate family only and are certainly not comfortable with an outsider being present in the room. And that is fair enough.
But birth photography is not just about paying a stranger to make a film of your child’s birth. It is now considered an art form and involves capturing some of the rarest and most intense emotions that one experiences in one’s lifetime. Vannessa Brown, a photographer and a ‘birth junkie’, as she calls herself, says, “It is an immense honor to document one’s birth, to capture something so real, so powerful and so awe inspiring. I feel so blessed to do what I do. I absolutely love birth and I think it is the most beautiful day in a couple’s life.”
Photographer Kaci Staurt says, “My dad always told me that once you have kids, time flies. After I had my own babies, I totally understood. Even though we don’t want to ‘blink’ we do. We look up and another year has passed. So let me freeze time for you. The emotions, how your baby looked in your arms, their dimpled fingers, long eye lashes, precious profiles… the details melt me. I would love to tell your story. Each one is unique, each one is worthy of being told.”
Birth photography is more than just shooting a video or clicking pictures of the newborn. It is an art form which aims to capture moments which you never realize are so beautiful. Parents say that they will never forget these moments, but memories do fade. People shell out enormous sums to pay photographers for pre-wedding shoots where the couple is asked to pose in a certain way and dress a certain way. But nobody is posing when a child is born. The emotions are real. An artist who truly loves the art form can capture how the father looked when he first held his baby, how they held hands as their time arrived. Most women who do birth photography are in it for the passion and their love for telling stories of birth and most of them are mothers themselves.
Another artist Keren Fenton explains why one should hire a birth photographer, “Allowing a photographer to handle this important task will not only free up the Dad or your other support person to be more available to you during your labor and delivery, but it will also ensure that his or her participation is captured on film.”
Most birth photographers get together with the couple a few weeks before the due date to get to know them, go over the details of their work and answer questions. They also go over exactly what the woman is and is not comfortable with. And of course, they maintain confidentiality.
Photographer Kayla echoes the collective voice of these women who do birth photography, “I want to document the most important moments of your life only because you feel like you can trust me. I mean the kind of unwavering trust you put in someone to document a once in a lifetime event with no opportunity for retakes.”