A passion for birth photography – Jane McCrae
Jane McCrae has been a professional birth photographer for over 4 years. Jane recently received 2 bronze awards in the Creative Asia Awards, and one of her images was recognised as an ‘Editors Choice’ in last years National Geographic Photography Competition, an International competition that attracted over 22,000 entries.
We spoke with her about her work photographing birth. Visit Jane’s website here.
My passion has always been photography. My Dad would take me out to photograph sunrises at the crack of dawn when I was a kid. He instilled in me lots of patience as we would sit and wait for the sun to slowly and miraculously emerge over the horizon. When I left school I decided to study Nursing which led on to Midwifery. It was then that my two passions collided and I knew that I had found my calling in life. I guess there is a parallel between what my Dad taught me as we photographed the sunrise and what women teach me as they give birth, and that is that nature in its raw, undisturbed, natural state is so incredibly beautiful – it is definitely worth getting up at ungodly hours to enjoy.
I feel like each birth I have photographed and the women and their husbands/partners have etched a piece of themselves in my heart. It is truly an honour to be asked into such an intimate setting and I have the utmost respect for my clients because of that. All of their journeys are unique and so very special.
What are the tricks of the trade to being a great birth photographer? Treating the birth space as sacred. I feel like I walk into a church when I enter a woman’s domain, so without saying or doing anything else, I simply capture things quietly as they unfold and tell the story with my camera. When I sit down with my couples later to view the montage of images that I’ve put together for them depicting their journey, I watch them as they re-live it. There are always tears and I see how proud and amazed they are at how their bodies have been so awesomely created to birth their babies. A great birth photographer captures emotion, which in turn creates emotion in the person who is looking at the photo.
The power of women is what most inspires me about birth. When they trust in their innate wisdom to birth I think it is the most life affirming moment that one can experience. There is nothing more moving than when a mother and child lock eyes for the very first time. The emotions in the room are tangible, the intensity and rawness of a long-awaited first meeting is indescribable. I have been known to have tears streaming from my eyes trying to look through the viewfinder, birth is just amazing.
The photo above is of a Dad catching his first son.
Inspirational midwives work ‘with’ women, not for or against them but WITH them. I have had the privilege to work alongside many inspirational midwives. Women never forget those that cared for them when their precious babe entered the world…. I know my midwives will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart.
Homebirth in Australia is definitely something worth fighting for. I want my children to be able to have the choice to home birth their babies just as I did. The births of my children have been the catalyst for me realising that I can do anything that I set my mind to achieving.
Visit Jane’s website here – www.janemccraephotography.com