“The expected meeting” by Karoline Saadi (Brazil). Subcategory winner, Delivery (B&W). “This is the surprise of those who received their daughter in their arms after an expulsive period of 3 minutes! Surprise and happiness to complete the family!”
Bringing a new life into the world is one of the most powerful human experiences. And thanks to birth photographers, families are able to have a record of these moments. This unique category of photography requires professionals who are able to capture these intimate moments and the wide range of emotions that come with them. Thanks to the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP), families have access to birth photographers from around the world. Their annual Birth Photography Image Competition is a way to show off their work, which honors the beauty and emotion of childbirth.
Now in its 13th year, the competition is open to the 1,100 members of IAPBP from 52 countries. They are able to submit their work to four categories—birth details, labor, delivery, and postpartum. And, for the first time, the photo competition also includes four subcategories—black & white, documentary, fine art, and hardship & loss.
The winning imagery captures the full range of childbirth, from water births to cesarean sections to the incredible moment when a child takes its first breath. But, at the same time, the competition also acknowledges that giving birth does not always mean taking a child home. The new hardship & loss subcategory is a reminder that still-born and miscarried babies also need to be honored and that through photography, families who experience loss will always be able to carry their children with them.
“We are thrilled to continue offering a new, impactful, and powerful subcategory titled hardship & loss,” shared the organization. “We desire to honor the 1 in 4 birthing persons who experience miscarriage and/or loss and inviting images of these events into our celebration of birth photography is one way we can do this.”
Take a look at a selection of the best images from this year's contest and then head over to IAPBP to see the full winner's gallery.
Birth photography is a unique art form that helps families celebrate the act of childbirth.
“Noah's Ark” by Ebony Allen-Ankins (Australia). Overall winner, Hardship & Loss. “Noah is delivered into and held by the loving hands of his extended family. “
“Safe space” by Jessica Innemee (Netherlands). Overall winner, Labor. “A moment of rest, comforting yourself before the next contraction is coming. “
“Bed 32” by Dania Lauren (Australia). Subcategory winner, Postpartum.
“You Are My VBAC Queen” by Erin Stetson (USA). Honorable mention, Postpartum. “After being convinced she needed to have a cesarean section with her first baby, my client took her time, educated herself, did her research and knew in her heart that the safest option for her and her baby was the one where she was surrounded by her birth team in her own home. We all could not believe it when she was complete and pushing. She birthed this special baby swiftly and with such beauty, but this moment stole my heart, the way her husband looks at her.”
An annual competition held by the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers celebrates those who capture these sacred moments.
“Cry of Love” by Anne Barbosa (Brazil). Honorable mention, Delivery. “The mother can't tell you how excited she is to see her baby for the first time and lets out a scream of happiness.”
“Hello, I Have Arrived” by Jessica Miles (USA). Subcategory winner, Delivery (Documentary). “Physicians holding baby up over the drape to reveal to parents with staff looking on and baby girl with hand held high as if she is waving.”
“Three Generations” by Marjolein Loppies (Netherlands). Entry, Birth details. “The birth took place in the hospital, in the presence of the birth mom's parents (a.k.a. the grandparents). Granddad was so overcome with joy and happiness when he met his first grandson. And was told he was named after him. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.”
“Still” by Michelle Dunn (US Minor Outlying Islands). Honorable mention, Hardship & Loss. “This is baby Anders. Born at home into his mother's hands at 11 weeks gestation. He was preserved in saline water. His family was able to name him, measure, and weigh him before laying his little body to rest in their backyard. Death done differently with dignity and grace. “
“Beautiful, Beautiful Boy” by Tiarra Doherty (USA). Honorable mention, Postpartum. “This was the birth of this young couple's first baby. I felt they were so wise beyond their years. During pregnancy, she made sure to do her research and learn all about the birth process. She stayed calm, quiet and present throughout her entire labor. Once baby emerged, she reached down and brought him into her and his daddy's arms.”
“All Lines Lead to You” by Laura Brink (Australia). Honorable mention, Labor. “A transgender person labors in the pool as their body undergoes another incredible transformation to bring their baby into the world. The scars from transition are evident and just another part of the story that ultimately leads to becoming Papa.”
“The Loyal Birth Attendant” by Laura Brink (Australia). Subcategory winner, Labor (B&W). “Their first baby, their dog Bryce, loyally holds space for his beloved owner as she labors in the waters at home in Queensland, Australia. “
“Drowning In Exhaustion” by Laura Brink (Australia). Subcategory winner, Labor (Documentary). “Exhaustion sets in. Laboring at home in the shower, this mother crawled out from behind the glass door and compiled the strength to continue on through her labor at home in Queensland, Australia. Her third birth, but first home birth.”
“Done my little one” by Susanne Krauss (Germany). Entry, Birth details. “The baby has just been born and doesn't seem to like the world yet. the midwife puts a reassuring hand on the infant's shoulder as she whispers tenderly, ‘You made it, my little one.'”
“I Stand In My Power” by Lawren Snapka (USA). Honorable mention, Labor. “The first time Mom arrived at the birth center at 8cm dilation. Everything thought it was going to go quickly, but it didn't. She labored for another 8 hours choosing to let her waters break on their own. She stood in her power through every contraction, and showed everyone she could achieve a natural unmedicated birth at the local birth center.”
“My first seconds here” by Julia Colbert (Brazil). Honorable mention, Postpartum. “The first seconds of Conrado's life after the birth, still on the doctor hands, waiting to the most lovely meeting in hs life. “
“peaceful arrival.” by Annemarie Fuckel (Germany). Subcategory winner, Postpartum.
“It's in our hands now” by Tania Fragoso (Netherlands). Honorable mention, Labor. “The complicity and partnership between them, was sacred, they had each other and that is all they needed.”