Welcome Jesse Jack Barton!
Isn't he lovely?
Photographing a First Days session is always a special experience, being welcomed into that sacred space is an honour. Every time. Photographing a session like this for friends is even more intimate and more emotional. By the time little Jesse was born, his parents and I had spent a bit of time planning sessions around waiting for him and then his arrival. We were closer by this point and had discussed so much about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting so when I walked into their hospital room to see their exhausted but proud faces beaming at me, their teeny tiny 22 hour old babe safely in their arms, well, I had to hold back a tear or three.
You can read about Renee and Kaine's journey to parenthood on their parenting blog Not So Secret Life Of Us. Now having read all they've written about their experience with conception, pregnancy and all the waiting and uncertainty, well putting together this blog post and finalising this set of photographs for them has been yet another emotional part of our work together.
Here are a few photographs from our brief session in hospital the day after Jesse's birth.
If you've read about my First Days sessions previously, you'll know that I work in documentary style. The nature of childbirth (it won't happen to schedule) and the nature of a hospital setting (who knows what the room or lighting will look like) means that these sessions will all have a unique look and feel. This session was my first of this kind, the kind where I met these guys at their hospital after 5pm and they were a bed away from a window even if I was there during the day, so we worked under the harsh light of hospital fluorescents. The light isn't flattering, but it illuminates what really matters ... that we're preserving a very special hour in this new family's life. When it comes to preserving first memories, first moments, especially on this little mans first day - the lighting condition is merely a secondary element, but one that will instantly transport this mum and dad back to this moment in life.
Oh how I adore this final set of photographs. I don't pose these sessions, at most I will ask them to pause for a moment, or like in these hospital bed family photos, I asked Kaine to sit on the bed with his wife and son. These final photographs symbolise all that first day is...an abundance of love, joy-filled moments and sheer exhaustion, especially when mama has done a lot of hard work birthing their baby, then is immediately thrust into motherhood with a feeding, settling, changing schedule from the get it go. I adore that Renee was equal parts comfortable with my presence, had trust in how I would document this time and surrendered to that exhaustion, even if only for a moment.