A couple of months ago, I had the honor of photographing the home birth of Heather & Robby's beautiful daughter, Lindye. Birth is always a tricky thing to photograph - it requires being on-call for weeks at a time; it's highly emotional and extremely personal; there is a lot of waiting involved, followed by a few, often unpredictable moments that absolutely cannot be missed; you don't know ahead of time whether you'll be working in the middle of the day with lots of light or the middle of the night with almost none at all, and - at least in my opinion - it's not the sort of event that you want to disrupt with flashes and lights. For all the challenges, though, it is an extraordinary experience, and one of the final frontiers of true photojournalism: there is no posing, no staging, no re-shoots, and no more honest, raw human emotion. It's like being a war photographer, except the opposite: no depression, danger, or death... just a huge dose of adrenaline, joy, and personal and professional gratification.
Lindye's birth was a long-awaited, middle-of-the-night affair, but once she was ready, she came quickly and (relatively) easily. Heather was amazing: supported by her husband Robby, her midwives Deb O'Connell and Ashley Marshall, her doula Christina Flaherty, her parents, and - too excited to sleep - her two year-old son Ethan, she labored beautifully and quietly, and delivered little Lindye in the water at 3:07am.
Though it has taken me a while to share these, I had my reasons for waiting... namely, I also wanted to share the gorgeous way that Heather and Robby chose to preserve them. Though everyone (understandably) wants digital files these days, I sometimes worry about what happens to those files - if people are anything like me, life gets busy, and having images printed, framed, or made into books gets put on the someday-when-I-have-time list. But Heather & Robby chose to have twenty of their favorite images printed, matted, and preserved in a handmade, archival keepsake box. I can't tell you how happy it made me to deliver this - along with their disk of high-resolution digital images - knowing that it will sit in a place of honor in their home, opened again and again on Lindye's birthdays, and maybe someday passed on to her when she's got little ones of her own :D
Heather and Robby, thank you again. It was such a pleasure getting to know you and being a part of your birth day... I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon!