My Journey as a Birth Photographer / by Brooke Porter

Often people are taken aback when I tell them I’m a birth photographer. Most people have no idea what that implies or just have one image in their mind and often respond with something along the lines of, “you mean you’re all up in there?!”

Birth photography is much more than just that (although trust me I do see everything). It's about capturing the subtle moments, the reaction on peoples faces when they see their child for the first time, the sweet embraces between contractions, a soon to be grandmother assisting her daughter through labor, and the tears of joy.


2N8A8822.jpg

(This was the most peaceful birth I had witnessed. While the midwife helped a lot during the birth, in the last moments she encouraged the mother to reach down and catch her own child)

IMG_7218.jpg

There is something so sacred, raw, and humbling about capturing a birth. To watch a woman find her inner most strength and follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of strong woman that have come before her, is to watch an individual journey into the depths of somatic ancestral knowledge.


2N8A2208.jpg
2N8A8487.jpg

(This is one of my favorite images. This was the first time this baby looked up into his mother’s eyes)

2N8A2647.jpg
IMG_7470.jpg
IMG_9115.jpg

(A husband gently caresses his partners forehead during labor)

IMG_7484.jpg

I’m grateful that so many women have trusted me to witness and help capture one of life's most cherished moments. It is a momentous and complex dance with pain and joy, that continues to seize to amaze me. Imagine if we knew the stories of our births and had images of the faces of friends and family that welcomed us into this world. How would that influence our view of women in society? In Spanish the word to give birth, dar a luz literally translates to give light. Mothers are light workers opening themselves to the abyss. I simply try to capture that light through a camera and hold that memory in time.


IMG_7639.jpg
2N8A5587.jpg
2N8A5790.jpg
2N8A6974.jpg
IMG_7754.jpg

Ina May Gaskin once stated that “When we as a society begin to value mothers as the givers and supporters of life, then we will see social change in ways that matter.”

My desire to help capture births comes from wanting to help promote that change. I can only hope that as more people see photographs of births, that we as a society can break away from negative stigmas associated with this revered ritual. I hope that my photographs help women around the world reclaim the magic and power that comes with giving birth. May these images serve as a humble reminder of our origins, may they ground us in gratitude for the beauty and strength of the female body, and may they evoke the sacred waters we all come from.

I dedicate this piece to all the mothers that tapped into their innermost wild woman and brought forth the light.

 


IMG_2917.jpg