The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) has announced the winners of their 2018 image contest, and the powerful photos that they have judged to be the winners show the raw beauty and drama of childbirth, as well as the sheer joy that follows.
Last year's contest was extremely high in quality and emotion, and this year the competition delivers once again. Each image tells a story of pain, perseverance, relief and joy. They document a new human's first moments of life, and a family's first moment of unity. You can see the full list of winners here.
For a little background on birth photography we spoke to one of the finalists of the competition, Tammy Karin of Little Leapling Photography (Her photo is called 'Nurse Linda'). “This annual contest is a huge part of not just bringing awareness to a genre of photography, but it plays a major role in this growing movement toward empowering women, improving our birth options, as well as inspiring us to dig deeper and fight for the types of births that are safest and best suited for us and our families,” she told Bored Panda.
“It's an incredibly difficult genre and most of us photographers get burned out from all of the on-call time. Few realize the level of commitment needed in order to not just show up at the right time, but to insert ourselves into the typically intimate environment without having any negative impact on the mother's progress. It's not just about standing in the right place at the right time; we must truly understand and respect the birth process.”
The genre is growing as more women become aware of it, but Tammy is aware that there is still a certain stigma and taboo around the graphic nature of many images. “I know most people in our culture are still not comfortable with it,” she told us. “But, birth photographers are not just going for shock and awe when they share detailed images of a baby emerging. I'd love to join that push for normalizing the sharing of those kinds of powerful captures. In general, our culture has a tendency to sexualize everything and inject fear into the birth process.”
As such, we must warn you that many of the photos below are intense and graphic, so reader discretion is advised. While one day birth photography will undoubtedly become more mainstream and accepted, we are not quite there yet. Scroll down below to see these powerful and unique images, and let us know what you think in the comments.
More info: IAPBB