At the beginning of each year, the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPB) hosts an image competition for their members. Incredibly gifted photographers from around the world submit powerful images to be presented in an extraordinary gallery that highlights the beauty, vulnerability, strength, emotion, and miracle of childbirth. These are released to the public (with our client’s permission, of course), and appear before a group of judges. (You can read more in detail about the competition here).
One of my favorite parts of the yearly birth photography competition is how it binds us together as birth photographers. It really doesn’t feel like a competition at all, but a collaboration to share the beauty, and miracle of birth. We spend several weeks sharing images together, giving and receiving feedback, and helping each other to decide which photos to submit. The best part of all is hearing stories of how different images encourage, and inspire other women to be confident in their births, and to have faith in their bodies. I believe that what we do is powerful, life-changing even. Viewing beautiful, empowering images of birth greatly influenced our decision to have home (water) births. (Birth photography also played a big part in directing me to become a doula!) I am incredibly honored when a family invites me to document such a significant, and vulnerable event, and so grateful to those who have allowed me to share the beautiful images from their births. And I do want to acknowledge that not every birth turns out exactly as planned, and not every birth is a “picture perfect” experience; birth is unpredictable, and ultimately an act of surrender, and my goal as a birth photographer is always to capture the story authentically, and to present my clients with beautiful memories that bring joy, healing, and a reminder that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you so much to each of you who have graciously invited me to share in your birth journey. Thank you so much to each of my wonderful birth photographer colleagues who have inspired, pushed, and encouraged me to be where I am today. And thank you so much to Lyndsay and Jason Stradtner (founders of the IAPBP) for all the endless hours you’ve poured in to growing our birth photography community, and all you’ve contributed to improving birth for women everywhere.
This year there are four categories, Labor, Birth, Postpartum, & Birth Details. Below are the images I submitted for “Labor” & “Birth Details.”
The connection between this couple was especially inspiring. Dad seemed so in tune with mom’s needs, and was incredibly supportive throughout their birth. This was merely seconds before this couple met their baby for the first time, and mom describes this moment as “Synergy between mom and baby, mom and dad, mom and support team. It feels impossible without them all helping and yet, in that moment, I think the woman comes to realize she must summon the power from deep within.”
BIRTH DETAILS: “Sustenance”
This incredible umbilical cord is from a peaceful home birth in Spokane, WA.
Baby was still attached to the placenta (which wasn’t yet delivered), and experienced the wonderful benefits of delayed cord clamping.
Winners of the competition will be announced on the IAPBP competition page around January 19!
There are at least 600 entries for this year’s competition!! To see more beautiful birth photos, check out some of the other birth photographers who submitted images this year: Sanetta Marsh, Kayla Gonzales, Caryn Scanlan, Natalia Sandoval Walth, Hannah Palamara, Ashley Short, Jennifer Mason, Neely Ker-Fox, Jenna Nord, Ingrid Wilson, Paige Driscoll, Elise Hurst, Catherine Brown, Vanessa Mendez, Addie Parker, Elaine Baca, Kim Be, Ginessa Cline Pierson, Jenny Gullen, Amy Yokomizo, Sarah Foti-Taege, Colette Port Hoekstra, Morgan Lang, Pauline van Berkel, Isabell Steinert, Caroline Devulder, Rachel Swindell Demand, Rebecca Coursey, Shea Michelle, Kourtnie Walker Scholz, Kembalee Kay, Bjorna Hoen Almaden, Stephanie Entin, Jennifer Hurley Ream, Tami Knight, Jennifer Hamilton, …and many, more!