These powerful photos show what giving birth is really like – beyond the cute moments of babies all clean, bundled up in blankets, and cuddling up to their mums.
The photos have been crowned the best in the world in this year’s Birth Photographer International Image Competition (or BPIIC, for short), a contest founded by Lacey Barratt as a way to further legitimise the art of birth photography.
Lacey, 33, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, has been a passionate birth photographer for 10 years and was one of fourteen experienced judges to pick the winners of the competition.
First place was awarded to Renate Van Lith, from Amsterdam, Netherlands, second place was presented to Jenna Nord from Montana, USA, and third place was granted to Diane Hinek, from California, USA.
But with 216 entries snapped by birth photographers from around the world – including Brazil, Portugal, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand – Lacey felt it was important to showcase all of the top images of the competition.
Mum-of-five Lacey said: ‘It was important to host a competition because there are so many other incredible competitions in the world, but they are not specific to birth photographers.
‘So we often get lumped in with documentary, photojournalism, and wedding documentary categories.
‘Judging and comparing a birth image with a wedding photo are just two completely different ends of the spectrum.
‘So to have a panel of judges trained specifically in birth photography was paramount to the legitimacy of such a prestigious award.
‘I personally love how birth heals a bad birth and prolongs the joy of a good birth.
‘Our work is so paramount to birthing people, because it allows them to take charge of their emotional autonomy even though our physical autonomy may have been taken from us.
‘When we view our images, we get to choose how we feel about them. And that is powerful in itself.’
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