Introducing Baby Barton

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 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.

See more of this family as they wait for Baby Barton here and here.  xx

Bek and Her Boys

Meet darling little Samuel. 
Bek contacted me to arrange an in-hospital 'First Days' session, but due to a couple of colds and flus, as well asfew other missed opportunities, we wound up photographing their First Days at home.  Which is an excellent alternative  ;-)

Bek and her family warmly welcomed me into their home, all a-buzz with life as a family plus nanna who'd arrived that morning to meet her newest grandchild.  This family oozes kindness and joy.  After a few serious bumps in the road on the way to creating their family, they are nothing but proud, thrilled and gracious for their life with their three boys. 

On the day I visited, Samuel was interested in everything going on around him and was so alert.  He was bright eyed and bushy tailed for our whole session, but was happiest snuggled up on mama's chest, as you'll soon see.


How's this for a great family photo? 
Eldest son Clay wasn't interested in having his photo taken at all (my usual tricks of the trade didn't sway him either) and second son Jake was due for his nap - the only one playing a long was little Samuel.  It may not be a traditionally perfect photograph of everyone looking at the camera with great big smiles on their faces, but this is the sort of photo I hang on our walls.  This, to me at least, sums up life with a young family - chaos of course, but a heck of a lot of love and joy holding it all together. 

These are the sort of photographs I wish I had of my own children in those first weeks after we brought them home.  Easy, natural and cuddling them up because, well, that's how we spend most of our days (and nights!), right?  Samuel didn't sleep through any of his photos, usually newborns fall asleep at some point, but he didn't.  His slow, exaggerated and typical newborn mannerisms make these photographs even sweeter.  How quickly they grow out of that once they gain more control over their body. 
And love.  Can you see how much he is loved and adored...

And in between all of those lovely snuggles above, was the 'real life' of days with a new baby.  The endless nappy changes, stopping to feed, meeting nanna, choosing clothes (how adorable is his little ant covered suit?!) and getting on with it all in a happily busy home with three gorgeous boys. 

Thank you, Bek and Mat, for welcoming me so kindly into your home.  It was such a pleasure to document your life as a family of five  xx

Beautiful Baby Finbar

"It is in the shelter of each other that people live"  

I met Beautiful Baby Finbar and his happy parents at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital a mere 24 hours after his birth on April Fool's for a First Days session.  For someone so new to the world, Finbar was such a content little man, being passed between both adoring visitors and medical visitors, as well as mum and dad.  This new little family was preparing to head home that same day so their hospital room was a hive of activity, but he took it all in his stride. 

Meeting Jannette and Ricky was such a treat, they welcomed me like an old friend as soon as I walked in the door.  Dad was clearly on cloud nine, especially considering he made the birth by the skin of his teeth, and mama was proud as punch of her beautiful son and busting to get her little family of three tucked in at home.  This weekend Finbar will head home to Ireland to meet his extended family, he'd better prepare those gorgeous chubby cheeks for lots of loving kisses, they're irresistible. 

Finbar is the name of a great uncle who was also born April Fools, as well as his uncle Barry.  (The anglicised shortened version of Finbar, is Barry).  A beautiful tribute to family on both sides and such a wonderfully strong name.  He wears it well, don't you think.

Can you tell Finar's parents are besotted?  Through all of the people popping in and out of their room, through the conversations flowing back and forth, their eyes didn't wander far from their son.  It's an incredible privilege to be invited into these First Days in a new family's life and be asked to document it.  I walk away feeling lucky to bear witness to such intimate moments, it's such a special blessing.  These early days are a whirlwind.  A fog of exhaustion and euphoria.  And they're fleeting.  The more I document these days in life, the more I'm sure of the importance photographs like this hold in a family's history. 

The photograph below is my favourite moment from this day. 
Though Finbar took the morning in his very young stride, he'd reached his limit.  When he was passed back to his mama, he snuggled up on her chest and calmed.  Immediately.  Mama whispered soothing secrets to him and rubbed his back.  They both knew what was needed in that moment.   

Baby Beau - A First Days Session

Sweet little baby Beau was barely two days old when his mama invited me to photograph them together in the First Days in hospital after he was born.  

His lovely mum, Mel, waited until I got to the hospital to give him a bath - he wasn't a fan at all, and to give him a feed - big fan! 

Little Beau is supermum Mel's fifth baby, and as you would imagine she was cool as a cucumber when it came to this parenting stuff (enjoying the peace and quiet of her stay in hospital ;-)  and just as smitten as a first time mama.  She couldn't get enough of her sweet boy - it was a true honour in be in that room with them to document a little piece of the very beginning of Beau's life and his mama's adoration.  


Mel and I met through a recent model callout on my Facebook page for these special First Days sessions, there was a fair bit of interest - I'm excited to be doing more of these sessions over the next month or so.