Celebrating the Beauty of Birth
At the beginning of each year, the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers holds an image competition, pulling hundreds of entries from talented photographers all over the world into an epic display of the raw and powerful beauty that is childbirth. Incredible images from every type of birth, in every setting, and from many countries are displayed for global admiration – home birth, hospital birth, birth center, vaginal delivery, breech delivery, cesarean delivery, unmedicated and epidural births alike. This collection showcases the many facets of birth in the most stunning of ways; strength, weakness, support, vulnerability, pain, elation, relief. It is truly a sight to see all of the best images from the year together in a single gallery.
This year, there are four separate categories, and each member of IAPBP may submit one image into each: Labor, Delivery, Details, and Postpartum. A panel of judges evaluates the images based on technical integrity (focus, sharpness, detail, depth of field, color, brightness, contrast, saturation, usage of light, etc.), emotional value, and composition. Those judges, by the way? Nothing short of impressive and intimidating this year. So many big names in the birth community, including Ricky Lake & Abby Epstein, producers of the award-winning documentary The Business of Being Born, Catherine Pearson, senior reporter at The Huffington Post, Jan Tritten, founder of Midwifery Today, Peggy Vincent, a midwife, and author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife (an amazing read, by the way!), Kirsten Lewis, a Denver based family photojournalist, Dawn Thompson, founder of ImprovingBirth, and so many more.
It took all of the five days that submissions were open, but I finally narrowed it down to these four images for entry...
This beautiful mama was the epitome of strength and grace as she labored for almost two whole days to bring her first baby earthside. She started at Natural Beginning Birth Center, under the care of Jessica Good, CNM & Bridget Kenny, CNM, eventually transferring to St. David's Women's Center of Texas to deliver her sweet son.
Erinn's fantastic home birth is one I won't soon forget. After two sons, both born in the hospital, she had a quick and easy natural birth at home, attended by Genevieve Schaefer, CPM and Mandy Toavs, CPM. Her first daughter, May, was born just 3 minutes after I arrived! Read Erinn's account of May's birth.
This baby, born just 24 hours after little miss May arrived, was covered in the most impressive, thick vernix I have ever seen. So incredible!
This lovely image is one of my favorites from the year. Jaxon was Sam's second and final child, a little brother for Carly, their one-year-old daughter. Sam delivered at St. David's Women's Center of Texas as well, attended by the amazing Dr. Angela Meyer, D.O. See more images from The Birth of Jaxon here.
Some of the other photographers whose work can be seen among these entries are:
Vanessa Mendez Birth Photography | Monet Nicole – Birthing Stories | The Art of Unscripted | Ker-Fox Photography | Katie Mathis Photography | Rachel Utain-Evans Photography | Elliana Gilbert Photography | Birth is Beautiful – Captured by Ina | Coastal Lifestyles Photography | Esther Edith, Photographer & Doula | Sacred Moments | Positive Birthing For You – Doula & Birth Photography | Twin Cities Birth Photographers | Savoring Moments Birth Photography | Fox Valley Birth & Baby | Jennifer Mason Photography | jessiephotodoula.com | Elizabeth Farnsworth Photography | Tree of Life Doula Photography | KE Documentary | All Things Baby Photography | Birth Blessings Photography & Doula Services | Laura Swift Photography | ...and so many more