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Birth photographer Bree Downes shares the inspiration and joy behind her work.

Capturing Birth


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31/03/2018

Birth photographer Bree Downes shares the inspiration and joy behind her work.

"Photography was the first thing that stirred my soul as a teenager. Being behind a camera is my most favourite place in the world where I can get lost for hours on end. I love watching and waiting for real life beauty that I can capture and that evokes a memory or feeling for people. I love capturing moments of bliss, joy and momentous love.

My next passion in life is birth. After having my first son in 2006 I studied to become a doula and have been attending births in a supportive role since 2009. It was only a matter of time before my two worlds would collide and I now offer birth photography to clients who want their birthing journey captured and documented.

Birth photography is real life at it's rawest. When a woman is so vulnerable and deep within herself in the birthing process, it's impossible for her to see or sense her power and beauty. Quite often I have women who are surprised to look back at their images and see the woman they are. 

I am often asked “why would someone want their birth photographed?”… to those I say “Why wouldn’t you?!!!!” It’s standard practice to hire a photographer for your wedding, why would you also not hire one for the first time you get to meet your child? It doesn’t have to be close up crowning shots if that’s not your thing, but it can be.

It's usually those moments when a woman is working so damn hard to birth her baby, she doesn’t realise she looks like a goddess or a warrior. She doesn’t see her own power and beauty, so I like to show her. Those sweet moments when her partner is in complete awe and rapture with her sheer strength, those first few moments when she gets to meet her baby for the very first time and realise she has in fact just become a mother. The relief. The joy. The love. All of it.

Those are priceless moments that should never be forgotten and are deserving of being captured. It’s also pretty special for the baby to have imagery of his or her arrival to look over for the rest of their life and this can provide a sense of deep connection to the love they have brought to this earth with them.

Ask any woman who has given birth if she remembers her entire labour and quite often she will say 'No'. Birthing women are full of endorphins and a cocktail of hormones that flood her frontal lobe and make her not only look completely out of it but she is, in fact, operating from her back or primal brain. Mix this with the feeling of extreme fatigue and tiredness and it often makes giving birth a very surreal experience. Hours can slip away without notice and women often recall feeling like they were in a dream-like state, as an observer during their baby’s birth.

I have often shown women their images and had responses like "wow I don't even remember that". Having images can pull all the pieces together in a beautiful pictorial journey that will become one of you and your child's most precious possessions, the very first day you met."

See more of Bree's amazing work at breedownes.com.au




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