The birth of one's child is one of the most magical, incredible experiences ever; I get it. What I don't get, however, are people who think they have to capture and commemorate every little step of the process with no boundaries whatsoever.
From nude pregnancy portraits to belly casts, people are determined to remember every nausea-punctuated moment, and that's fine; to each his or her own. When it comes to hiring photographers to capture every minute in the delivery room, however, it seems that we've really reached an extreme.
The New York Times highlighted this growing demand for birth photographers in an article this weekend titled "Honey, the Baby Is Coming; Quick, Call the Photographer," and it's pretty disturbing. We're not talking dad snapping some pics of the blessed event, but rather a paid stranger on call to capture the whole intimate event ... which suddenly becomes much less intimate.
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I understand it to a degree, wanting to capture those precious moments forever, wanting to see what you couldn't see. Rhisie Hentges of Long Beach, Calif., told the paper she paid almost $1,900 to have her baby's birth photographed because:
I want to see that moment when I’m in labor. That moment when both my husband and I look to see what the sex is? That’s something that I want to see happen.
But not all births are picture perfect, and there are complications. Then what? Hentges herself had to have a C-section, and her birth picture dreams were quickly dashed. It just seems like you're planning for a Kodak moment, when life and birth can be often be so much more complicated than that.
Not to mention the ridiculous fallout from such a practice there will inevitably be from women who want to look gorgeous in the shots. Soon labor and delivery rooms will have hair and makeup people on call, and lightening specialists ready to step in.
Some hospitals prohibit the practice, and others have rules regulating it, but for the most part, it seems to be a matter of choice. And in that case, I suppose it's each couple's right to do as they like. However, the whole practice just seems to take the focus of the birth process off of the birth and to prohibit parents from truly being in the moment in the interest of capturing it. And that's a shame.
Would you hire/ have you hired a professional birth photographer?
Image via koadmunkee/Flickr