There was no birth category at APPA this year. This had me in two minds about entering the documentary category, weeks of questioning “Do I or don’t I”. The fact I’m writing a blog on APPA obviously means I did, in the end enter.
As has been the case in the past, it was the process of entering APPA more so than the actual judging that was the enlightening part. I spent weeks going through image after image, carefully selecting my portfolio. The editing of them is always a huge learning curve. I still don’t really see myself as a ‘photographer’ although, after shooting births for almost 10 years now I really should take up that word to describe myself. Spending the afternoon with Mark, at Zone printing Newcastle is the best part of it all. I just love soaking up his knowledge and wisdom.
So, here you go. My portfolio of four images.
Firstly I’d like to show you my non awarded image.
I know this is a very simple image however this image speaks volumes to me. When I look at this image my eyes are directly drawn to this womans face. Just look at the pure exhaustion. Her arm up over her head and dark circles around her eyes. She is well and truely spent. I do however get a sense of contentment in the exhaustion, and start to ask myself why is she content when she is obviously so tired. I then follow her striped bikini top down her chest and spot a sweet little head of hair at her breast, obviously she is breastfeeding a moments old babe.
To me, this is the epitome of motherhood. That pulling of both extremes that we all feel. Longing to do the best by our child and yet needing to rest and provide self love and care. The sheer selflessness of motherhood is captured right there.
This next image was awarded a silver. I absolutely adore this shot. It captures the essence of Midwifery care to me. The eye contact of Mum, so calmed by the presence of her Midwife, holding her hand and whispering words of encouragement and that beautiful babe, wow, birth never ceases to amaze.
The storyline of my third image made me giggle a little and shows that birth takes a village. Yes, it is the woman who goes through the physical process but the couple become a Mother and Father in their own right. In the first image, Dad is supporting Mum. He is upright and providing the hand to hold, then the remarkable little face emerges followed by Dad letting out a big sigh of relief and Mum being the one who supports him. I love the smile on Mums face, she is beaming and finding it all rather amusing. This is what parenthood is about. Supporting and helping one another to birth and raise our kids. It received a silver too.
My fourth image depicts so sweetly the beauty of birth at home. A big brother and big sister are born when this precious little man came into the world. Such gorgeous support people. Home birth is family centred and I just love how this series of images reveals that. It was also awarded a silver.
A HUGE thank you to the families and birth workers whom allowed me to share these images with the world. Birth is so incredibly intimate yet all these women gave me their blessing as they wanted to support me in my work. I feel incredibly grateful for their generosity. I have no doubt that these photographs will be an incredibly positive influence of the many people whom view them. Slowly but surely we are changing the way our culture views birth, for the better