Photographers' Blog

Birthing in family


Sao Paulo, Brazil

By Nacho Doce

It was a night like any other, until my phone rang at 1:30 am. I reached to answer it without turning on the light. A woman on the other end said, “My water broke.”

“Manu?” I asked. Manuela, or Manu, said that I should come over to her house right away. I hung up and walked over to my sofa and looked at the cameras and lenses, without knowing if I had even charged the battery.

The phone rang again and it was Andre, Manu’s husband. I answered it with a question. “Damn, did she already give birth?” Andre said no, but asked in how long I would be arriving so he could tell the doorman. I took a quick shower, grabbed my gear, drank coffee, and in half an hour I was on my way along empty streets.

I was about to witness, at least through my viewfinder, a child’s birth for the first time. Two days earlier I had visited Andre and Manu, and they told me they planned to have their two-year-old daughter Alice with them when their new son, Gael, was being born. I was shocked, but thought it a great experience for Alice. The girl would see her brother emerge into their lives, without just “appearing” like magic from the hospital. Alice would have the greatest experience that a child could have with her sibling.

As I carried all my gear, cameras, lenses, batteries, monopod, and ladder, I knew it looked like I was going to cover a soccer game. I laughed at myself, nervously over the new experience. I knew that I was taking with me just about every piece of gear I owned, simply because I had no idea what I would need to photograph a birth, and I had to make sure I didn’t fail.

A photo blog without photos

By Desmond Boylan

Absolutely no choice. This photography blog post has no pictures. (Part 1)

I was recently driving towards Havana on a small, quiet country road in central Cuba. As I came onto a long stretch there was a truck moving slowly ahead of me in my lane, that suddenly stopped on the right side. I approached slowly knowing that in Cuba there are big potholes, very scarce and slow moving traffic, and cows, horses, hens and even children crossing the roads at any time, always without looking.

I put on the indicator to overtake the truck, but I noticed there was some unusual movement off to the right among some people beside some small country homes.

What happened next was an extremely intense situation.

I suddenly saw two women, one of whom was holding a newborn baby still attached to the other by the umbilical cord, and both were yelling for help. I will never forget the expression on their faces. They had tried to climb into the truck cabin but were unable to. They looked at me, screaming for help. Before I could stop the car completely, the three passengers in the back seat of my car had already jumped out and helped in the mother of the child, followed by the other woman holding the baby. The woman holding the baby turned out to be the other’s mother, so I now had three generations of a family in crisis in my backseat. Dangling between them was the umbilical cord with the baby turning purple. I am not a doctor but common sense told me that there was no time at all to lose. I put the car in first gear and before the doors were closed I accelerated down the road blowing the horn and flashing the headlights continuously. I reached 120 kilometers per hour in a few seconds, and kept it there.

Passing seven billion

By Jorge Silva

It was during my eternal search for unique moments to capture that I was witness to the most spectacular and magical event – the arrival of a new life.

The United Nations announced the pending birth of the planet’s inhabitant number 7,000,000 for October 31, and that gave me the chance to work on a series of photos that became the most emotional and satisfying of my career.

The moment a baby is born is doubtless one of the most intimate and special in the life of a woman and her family, and sharing that intimacy as a privileged observer was sensational. To live that experience without having become a father yet was even more moving.

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