I’ve really got to stop falling in love with the families i photograph.
I’m not making any promises though.
The first time i stepped into Nikki and Alex’s home i felt my heart expand a little bit. Nikki was heavily pregnant with her third baby, and we were meeting ahead of my photographing her birth. The gentleness of their home was intoxicating in a way that made me not want to leave- to sit on their sofa and drink tea and talk about life while their two year old (gently) terrorised the brand new fluffy white kitten.
Predictably, the day of their birth was gentle and divine, and then months later when i went back to photograph them as a family of five i stepped into a picture of the most exquisite chaos. Here’s a little glimpe into their world… see if you can’t help but curl up on their sofa with a cup of tea and ponder how lovely life can be.
When i blogged the birth of Remy a couple of weeks ago, i got so many beautiful responses from people inspired and brought to tears by the deep connection and beauty of his birth. Nothing makes my heart sing more that allowing people to witness the extraordinary power and beauty that birth can possess.
Well that little family went home and cocooned themselves in a baby bubble while they got to know each other, allowing the outside world to pass them by while they snuggled, fed, slept and looked after themselves.
Here is a little window into those scared early days.
Oh, and introducing….. Remy’s costar, Pai the pooch. x
Those final days of pregnancy can look so different, in so many ways… life generally becomes a little slower, a little heavier, and things are kept a little closer to home.
Visiting this divine woman, at home with her two girls in the final days of pregnancy while her partner was off at work, was a beautiful glimpse into those slow, heavy but gentle days. Things outside the home didn’t matter, the girls seemed to understand the pace of things and we easily passed a couple of hours on a drizzly day reading, baking and exploring.
To me it felt like a magnificent moment to capture before everything changes- before the magic of a newborn is introduced in to this home, before this family of four becomes five, before all the routines and patterns of their life shift, maybe a little, maybe a lot, to accommodate a new soul.
A snapshot of a moment in time…
This is Bradley.
At his birth his dad told me he was probably named this because his mum fancies Bradley Cooper.
This fact is yet to be verified.
Tina and David welcomed Bradley into the world amongst a fluster of grandmothers, a great grandmother and aunties. This is one very loved little boy…
Loved, and very, very cute.
Man i’ve loved this journey with these guys. I knew it would be divine as soon as i met them to shoot Trinity’s gorgeous 37 week belly. To then photograph their homebirth, and now their newborn days… they represent everything i love about capturing these stories of families transforming… morphing into their new, expanded, overwhelming form.
And just like any good trilogy… i do hope there’s a part IV, V & VI to come…
Thanks for having me along for the ride guys. xxx
ps there’s some pretty special history going on here… the outfit little Indigo is wearing at the end is the outfit her dad wore home from the hospital after he was born… cute, huh. x
Oh how i love stepping into peoples lives in these early days…
The newborn wonder. The bleary eyes. The heart melty love.
And that combination of just getting though the days however you can, coupled with trying to get everything…. just right.
I adored Maureen and Doug as soon as i turned up at their front door to capture the magic of their newborn baby girl, Olivia. It helped that Tex, their enchanting golden retriever was the first to greet me at the door- everyone’s favourite doorman. In fact Tex was convinced the shoot was for him.
It could have been.
He’s so damn beautiful.
But he couldn’t outshine the little lady they had welcomed into their lives just weeks before…
For a 4 year old- the wait for a baby sibling must feel like FOREVER! Little Mia was very aware of every passing day while she waited for her mother to give birth. Her baby dolls were mothered into oblivion as she waited for the real thing to arrive. Sometimes patiently, sometimes less so. Mind you, her beautiful mum also had her moments on the patience front. You may remember them rock hopping and exploring in the final days of pregnancy here.
Well birth, as it always does, finally happened, and little Mia got her wish of a new baby sister named Ivy. As she very eloquently and gleefully exclaimed to her dad when she found out it was a girl, “Now there are THREE girls and ONE boy in this house.”
Yes, darling. Yes there are.
Here is a little glimpse into their early days of being a family of four. The constant feedings, the need for double the attention, double the pairs of hands, double the patience…. and the pay off… double the delight.
My love to families in this phase right now! I know a few of my mamas are in the midst of it as i write…
Right here, is everything i love about family adventure sessions.
I tagged along with this scrumptious family on one of their weekend picnics and found myself in a whole world of fun… hide and seek amongst the paperbarks, a barefoot family cricket match, an Oscar-worthy reenactment of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and a stroll to the beach as the sun was setting.
Most of the time, it was as if i wasn’t even there… which is exactly how i like it. That’s when we can capture the beauty of how a family is in their magical day to day…
Who’s up for an autumn adventure with me tagging along in my invisible cloak?
Drop me a line and let’s book it in…
Meet Dan, Mia, Nina, Hugo and Jasper the pooch.
These guys decided to show me around their favourite local park near their home for this Family Adventure session…it quickly became clear they know it inside out. Every tree, every garden bed, every hiding spot- this is their own special stomping ground.
We fought off the chilly, windy morning with hot coffee and games of hide and seek, and Nina the Chief Flower Picker systematically worked her way through every blossoming plant in sight. No blooms were safe- no matter how far out of her reach they were… i suspect they see her coming.
Meet Moosh and Maeve. Two little chicas who adore each other in bonkers quantities.
We had booked this session for a Saturday afternoon in late winter, and we thought we may have to push it out because of the rain. It had been drizzling for a couple of days and the morning was soggy and grey. But we held off, and as the sun passed over the sky, it seemed to collect up the clouds as it went. Come mid afternoon the gentle light was dancing through the streets- in that delicious way that it does when a few grey days have gone before. Somehow sweeter, more golden.
Wispy grass, afternoon light and an abundance of freckles… I dream of afternoons like this.
I would like to introduce to you Nadine, Jonathan, Rocco and Ines.
What do you need to know about this family?
I met Nadine 6 years ago when we were both doulaing in London. My first memory of her is that she had the sparkliest eyes, the reddest lips and the most wicked cackle I’d ever heard. I adored her immediately.
Jonathan, her husband, is an infuriating ace with a ping pong bat. More alarming than that is that he clearly learnt everything he knows on that front from his delightfully well spoken English mother, Rosemary. Andy and I challenged them to doubles, once. Just once.
Jonathan’s negronis are almost as good as his table tennis.
I was Nadine’s doula for the homebirth of Ines 18 months ago. Doulaing the doula- now there’s an honour. An easy honour. I turned up, took some photographs, watched on in awe and helped clean up afterward. Oh, and ate Rosemary’s freshly baked sponge cake at midnight. It was incredible. And well worth leaving a Stephen Merchant show at the Opera House for.
In preparation for his mum’s birth, 6 year old Rocco drew pictures of Nadine giving birth to put up around the birth pool. Written on them was, “You can do it mummy, I know you can” and, “You did it for me, you can do it again.” And you know what? He was right.
When she gave birth to Ines, Nadine managed to pass on the sparkliest eyes in the world. That kid is like kryptonite.
I love these guys to bits.They have one of the happiest households i have ever known.
As you will see from these photographs- we started this session at sunrise at North Bondi, Ines had a refreshingly unexpected dunk in the cool autumn waves (and recovered spectacularly well), we went home for a quick change and then headed into Surry Hills for brunch.
How did it feel being asked to capture their family at this very point in time? Well, hopefully you can see how that felt through these photographs.
Sometimes, birth doesn’t go as we planned it. As we imagined it. As we hoped with all our hearts it would.
Sometimes we need to dig very deep in our souls to accept that we cannot always control how things unfold, despite all of the preparation we undertook to get there.
This beautiful family has gone on such a journey. Lisa and Peter were doula clients of mine, planning on a natural birth for their first baby. But after 3 nights of labouring like a goddess, Lisa’s babe wasn’t budging. The decision was made to go to theatre. It was not made lightly.
However, this glorious woman refused to lose her sense of humour… that theatre was filled with joy and laughter, and thus, their daughter was born into a room of warmth and love.
It is possible this babe was waiting to share her birthday with her mama… which she now does. Together, they celebrated with a glass of very well earned French fizz.
Birth is an overwhelmingly spectacular event, however it happens.
I introduce to you… Evie.
Is there anything more scrumptious than a full mop of hair on a newborn baby?
Teeny tiny milk spots?
This delectable newbie got a bit greedy as she passed the Cuteness Collection Point, i feel.
Throughout her mum’s pregnancy, Ziggy was the working title for this little babe who’s gender was a surprise. Ziggy turned out to be a girl, and has been blessed with the name Annabelle. But she’s still Ziggy to everyone… so she gets to keep her moniker.
Ladies and Gentlemen… meet Annabelle Ziggy, with her support cast of a besotted mum and dad, and a DOTING grandma direct from Canada.
If you’ve spent any time sniffing around my blog, there are some gorgeous faces you will recognise here. I love having families come back time and time again for me to document different chapters of their lives.
This is the Isaacs.
I met Emma, Rowan, Milla and Honey a couple of years ago and have had the pleasure of photographing Emma’s Blessingway for her third pregnancy, and the subsequent birth of the beautiful Indie which you can see here.
Emma joined me a few weeks back when i was interviewed on Wake Up on TEN about Birth Photography, (that’s here) and then just last week i spent an afternoon with them, hanging out at home and rock hopping at Maroubra.
The chaos of the Isaacs household is infectious- these spirited, rambunctious girls sweep you up into their world of wild to a point where the reality outside magically vanishes…
Early mornings by the ocean are without question my favourite way to start a day. So when someone asks for a family photography session, early in the morning, at MY local beach… it’s a whole trifecta of goodness that I love.
Natasha, John, Oliver and Ruby came to have an early morning play at Bronte a couple of months ago, and I tagged along for the capturation.
We jumped the waves, threw sand balls at the rising shoreline and explored the sandstone cliffs. Oliver swiftly stole my heart.
But then, I suspect he’s well practiced at that.
I have a story to tell you about little girl named Lily, and her amazing parents, Dave and Jess.
Dave and Jess were ready to start their family, so were thrilled to find out they were pregnant with their first child. That elation got turned on it’s head when, at 16 weeks pregnant, Jess’s waters broke. They were told there was nothing much they could do except to stay on bed rest and hope for the best. The baby’s chance of survival was 1 in 100. Rather than expecting the worst, Dave and Jess decided that without doubt, that 1% chance was theirs. They welcomed their community to send their energy, prayers and wishes to their fragile little baby, and Jess spent the next 8 weeks at home in bed.
At 24 weeks pregnant, the little fighter was still holding on, despite being in an amniotic sac which never resealed, so Jess was moved to Royal North Shore Hospital where she spent the next 5 weeks. On the 13th March 2013, at 29 weeks pregnant, Jess went into labour. Plans for a caesarean section were being made but this clever baby had other plans. Before they could make it to theatre, Jess birthed a breech baby girl named Lily Mireya Missio, weighing just 1.67kg.
Lily spent the next 5 months in intensive care and the following 2 months in the children’s ward- her biggest challenges being lung function and digestion. Remarkably, Jess expressed breastmilk for every single feed for her little girl, to give her the very best chance possible. During Lily’s time in hospital Dave and Jess tag teamed an around-the-clock roster (whilst Dave held down a full time job)- so they were with Lily every step of the way.
After 205 days in hospital, it was decided Lily was well enough to go home. Still on constant oxygen and a feeding tube, there are some challenges to overcome, but given the tenacity she has shown thus far, no one has any doubt she’s up for the challenge.
I was lucky enough to capture Dave and Jess finally taking their little girl home. This was only the second time she had been out of the hospital walls, into fresh air, and it was the very first time Lily had felt the sun on her face. What a beautiful day it was.
Oh, and you might even spot me in there having a little cuddle.
A couple of months back I was thrilled to hear that this birth photograph i took back in March had been selected as a finalist for the Renaissance Photography Prize in London. This competition raises money for the Lavender Trust, an amazing organisation committed to supporting young women with breast cancer.
I was particularly thrilled that they chose a birth photo to be part of the exhibition, as i firmly believe that the more that people see how beautiful and powerful and unscary birth can be, the more that we as a society can start viewing birth as a normal, physiological event not to be feared, but to be embraced and rejoiced.
The exhibition has been on this week in London, with framed prints of the photographs being sold for the Lavender Trust. You can check them out here.
And I thank Rebecca, my divine subject, for inviting me into her birth space and allowing me to share this image with the world. You can see more images from Rebecca’s birth here.
Meet Jeremy, a very pregnant Tess and their twin boys, Archer and Jude. How fun it was to spend a morning with them… Fun, and maybe a little bit crazy.
Pirates terrorising the garden, rockin’ out on the guitar, a dance party to Pearl Jam (every 3 year old boy’s favourite band, right?) and some pretty impressive gymnastics courtesy of dad-the-climbing-frame.
This is a family that that is frequently doubled over with belly laughs. It’s divine.
Not only was I lucky enough to capture this family session late in Tess’s pregnancy, I also captured the birth of their third baby a few weeks later.
I might share that one with you soon, if you fancy.
Well hi there… so nice to see you here. Welcome!
POP! Hear that? That’s my blog cherry. It’s all terribly exciting.
To mark the occasion I would like to share with you a birth that I documented not too long ago…
This birth was a so very special (ok you’ve got me, they all are, every single one of them). It was the first birth that I attended alongside my doula sister, Lucretia McCarthy. What a treat it was to watch her work… she was calm, compassionate, thoughtful and funny. Oh, and she does a mean double-hip squeeze. All the things a doula should be.
But the real treat was witnessing Rebecca, this strong, beautiful woman, and Philippe, her unflinchingly focussed, loving partner, welcome their second little boy into the world. They worked so beautifully together, and between them, Lucretia and their wonderful midwife, the room was filled with a complete trust in the wisdom and ability of Rebecca’s body to birth this baby.
Welcome to the world, Tosh.
I’d like to take a moment here to thank the families, and especially women who give their permission for me to share these extremely personal images with you all. I am in awe of every one of you and eternally grateful.
Please, do not share, edit or reproduce any images here without permission.
Your respect is requested. In fact, it is a requirement of attendance.