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Iwona Bałdyga: One day, when I came across a more reliable couple report on the internet, made by one of the great foreign professional baby photographers, I wished I had such memories. I barely remember the moments when my daughters were born. I only remember when I saw them for the first time. This cannot be forgotten. There was no end to emotions and tears, but what happened before, after? How did we experience it, what did the baby look like after welcoming the world?
I searched the Internet for information on whether such sessions were carried out in Poland. I came to the conclusion that, in addition to newly baked daddies, who bravely accompany their partners during the birth of a child, no one documents its course (now more and more professional photographers are taking it). I thought, why not give other moms such memories and experiences, professionally immortalized by someone who looks at this event from a distance.
Another thing was to break the stereotypes that have been growing around childbirth for years. On various portals, I read my mother's memories that it was terrible and dramatic, and all the staff was against them. The birth of a child is a huge experience and I agree with this, but many people associate it with traumatized trauma, something unpleasant, incomprehensible, with an event bearing pain and suffering. This is also true, but this is not what we want to remember ... In addition, my stories mainly boiled down to the medical procedure and assessment of doctors or midwives, sometimes even to assess the attractiveness of the hospital.
In my opinion, the essence of documenting birth is to capture something unique and mystical. I would like others to see it too, and that childbirth would be a unique experience for women, a magical ritual strengthening the relationship of two people who will soon become parents. Childbirth photography is also a capturing of emotions accompanying this magical moment, feelings accompanying two loving people. Because "a child is a visible love" as Novalis wrote. It is a gift and a fruit of parents' love. This is the purpose and meaning of our lives.
The subject of the photographer at birth is still a controversial issue in Poland. An additional stranger in the room is something embarrassing. In addition, many people do not understand why to document something that you would like to forget.
I don't care about showing drama, physiological fluids, medical equipment, horror scenes, just capturing the emotions of feelings and relationships between partners. I focus on images of beautiful moments that we always want to carry in our hearts.
E: While a pregnant woman's session is most often done in the studio or outdoors, childbirth photography is limited to the hospital room. What other important differences could you point out?
I. B.: One of the most important is that pregnancy sessions are planned in advance, inscribed with a colored pen on the calendar. There is no action plan or specific date for delivery sessions in the delivery room. The second important difference is the chairmanship during the session. At pregnancy, I'm the mentor, the person who talks about what models are supposed to do, how to present them to show the best effect. In the first place in the hospital is the medical staff who are doing their best to ensure that delivery is fast, efficient and safe. I'm just an observer and documentary filmmaker.
And one more difference that came to my mind right now. At family sessions, it's just me and the model, the whole team is in the hospital, sometimes there are medical students;)
E: What is the most common idea of a pregnancy session among your friends and clients?
I. B.: In Poland, more and more women or couples are deciding to document the period of pregnancy and I enjoy it. This is the next stage of our lives, so why not capture it in the same way as birthdays, graduation, or a wedding or any other celebration worth remembering. Usually, mothers who come to me do not have a specific session. They want to look and feel beautiful, and I hope to show them. They rely on my experience. Before the session, I always encourage you to look at my portfolio, then I know that clients who come to me for sessions accept my image and frame perception, style, final effect of post-production, and general aesthetics.
E: What photos do you not take during labor? Are there moments that you don't capture and those that have to wait for the shot?
I. B: During labor I don't focus on medical aspects, but mainly on feelings and relationships between two loving people. Certainly there are no pictures of intimate places, or those that could harm someone's feelings or hurt them. Everything must be done with respect for the woman's body and intimacy and respect for the work of the staff.
There are also unforeseen situations and then you need to know how to behave. Once at the birth of one of the girls, it happened that the tiny could not catch her first breath, the resuscitation action began. The situation was getting tense, sometimes dramatic. I saw fear, uncertainty. I didn't take pictures then, I retired. In my heart I felt the same as parents or doctors. These are situations that teach humility, but they are not worth remembering.
E: Why did you give up the colorful photos from the birth? Do black and white better reflect the emotions and atmosphere of the event? Or maybe they help mask some beauty defects?
I.B.: I have always associated reportage photography with black and white photos. The lack of color allows you to see the essence of what I would like to convey, allows you to focus on the content of the picture I presented. Gives moments a unique atmosphere and timeless character. Black and white photography is the power to convey emotions and feelings. It is different when colors distract by a large amount of information. We focus on insignificant physiological or medical aspects. And the essence of such pictures in my opinion is different ...
E: Do you approach each session individually or rather stick to the usual scheme?
I. B.: I approach each session individually and this does not apply only to sessions from the delivery room.
Reportage, as the name suggests, is a document of fact here and now, reporting the event we are witnessing. This life writes a script. There are no two identical situations, no two identical events, so in this case there is no question of the pattern we prepared. He documents events and ceremonies as they actually did. Spontaneously, naturally, beautifully. Only looking at a given event everyone has individual and characteristic of themselves.
E: Who most often asks you to document the delivery - expectant mother or maybe her partner?
I.B: I usually present the topic to both parents on, for example, pregnancy sessions. But mainly it is the partners who care about such a document from this special day. Dads always share the views of their partners.
E: What motives are guided by people who in such an intimate moment admit (except medical personnel whose presence in the hospital is unavoidable) a stranger equipped with a camera?
I. B.: It is quite a difficult question and one should probably ask those who participated in this type of sessions. I know that deciding on such a session, I would be guided only by my heart and the desire to have an unforgettable and unique souvenir for the rest of my life. But this is just my opinion.
E: Do you discuss the delivery session with your clients before?
I. B.: I meet the couple several times before the delivery session. Already during the pregnancy session we have the opportunity to get to know each other and talk about it. Then I give time to think. You have to feel it. You can't be with someone by force. Must spark between us all. Trust above all.
E: Do all the photos reach the client or are they subject to any selection before they are shown?
I.B: Each photo session is strictly selected by me before it reaches the final acceptance of the client. Someone once said that only the basket size distinguishes a good photographer from the average. But would we like to break through piles of similar and boring shots? Photos must form a coherent whole, present a given story, only then they deserve attention.
Before the final publication of photos, I always ask for the permission of the models to use them, so it's not like every photo I take is on the web of online images.
E: A labor photographer's work is not limited to predetermined hours. After all, a phone call from a customer can ring at night. Are you always ready?
I.B.: Good question. While I can plan children's sessions with my parents with an accuracy of the hour, we will not foresee the birth of a child. This is the risk that the phone will ring in the middle of the night. It has not happened so far, but I am hoping that one day I will get "night Marek". I am prepared for this and around the time of delivery I sleep with the phone to my ear, so as not to miss the most wonderful and exciting miracle of nature. I'm just waiting for the next baby and wonder what time of day he will honor us with his presence.
E: How do midwives and doctors react to your presence? Do they disturb or hinder taking pictures?
I. B.: It is never the case that doctors or midwives see me in the delivery room for the first time, as the delivery process begins. They always know about my work beforehand. I also need to get the hospital's permission to photograph before documentation.
Of course, there is always the fear that an additional person in the room will not hinder the work, or whether the cooperation will be carried out correctly. But so far I've only met with the kindness of hospital staff, who sometimes give me tips on what to do, what to look for. I respect every attention and try not to disturb these intimate moments.
E: Have you ever changed your mind and asked you to leave the room during the execution of the order?
I.B: I haven't seen this situation yet, but I respect my parents' decision. They can withdraw from the contract at any time, resign, without any consequences.
E: Which of the labor sessions did you remember the most and why?
I.B: I think there are no such sessions. Each falls deeply into the heart, each one moves to tears and I remember everyone.
Iwona Bałdyga - records, as she writes, "beautiful moments that shape us". Through the lens, he looks at the man in important moments of life, writing them on small pieces of paper. Keeps the memories you want to come back to. And he does it, admit it, in an amazing style ...