Photographs as a map

My friend Donna and I attended a talk on aboriginal astronomy. My main takeaway from this talk was this: When Westerners buy aboriginal art they think its for the beauty. Something to decorate their homes with.

What they are really looking at is a map.

This single sentence pierced through me like an arrow through the heart, like a tiny pinprick had opened a world of light. I was overcome with emotion and nearly burst into tears, covered in goosebumps I thought YES. This is what my art is too. A map.

Not googlemaps or a melways but an indication showing you the direction home. When I take photographs at your birth, im providing you with both an opportunity to time travel and a map so you can always return there.

You can return to that time and that experience whenever you want to, and while you can still get there without the photographs, they provide a prompt.

Something tangible to hold in your hands as you submerge into the story.

The midwife who supported you, the way your partner looked at you, the layout of the room and the song on your spotify playlist. These details matter and they will slowly fade which is why its so important to me to catch them for you. So that you can allow that oxytocin bliss so flow over you again. So you can be outside of yourself looking at your power and vulnerability. Marianne Williamson said 'it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' You need not be afraid, let me light the way.

Being seen is scary. When it comes to birth this is such a pared back and true sense of the word. Naked, vulnerable. Your true nature. There is no capacity for manners or niceties, the way in which you were cultured to behave in your day to day life stripped back. Your TRUE essence. The essence of you. The essence of your partners relationship with you. The essence of your birth.

Because for me, it was never really about the baby. I know that ultimately by healing mum, I offer the baby a world in which no healing is required because they've never been hurt.

When you see yourself through my lens, you will never be the same again. My true ability is to tap into your power and reflect it back to you. What can happen, as a result of that is that you get to see yourself in a whole new light. Reclaim lost parts of yourself and truly step into your power. Not only can it metamorphise your relationship with yourself but also the relationships of those surrounding you. What greater gift could you possibly offer your baby, your partner, your family, your community?

It starts with a ripple.

It starts with you.


If you would like me to document your birth please get in touch as soon as possible.


A testimonial:

You know, for a couple of weeks after Savannah was born, I would shudder when recalling my labour and birth experience.  It was traumatic.  I didn’t feel empowered, it wasn’t how I’d imagined, I was disappointed.  But in the coming weeks since, I’ve learned to let it go, through patience, acceptance and meditation. 

And what really sealed the ‘letting go’ for me, were your photos and your gifts.

I had forgotten about how Steve fed me jelly in labour – so did he.  I had forgotten about how we giggled when he tried to tie my hair up.  I had even forgotten what the birthing suite looked like.  It was your photos that conjured up all those warm and fuzzy feelings, the pleasant moments, the happy ones.  And now I’m slowly starting to recall my labour with fondness and gratitude, and not feelings of disappointment. 

I can’t stop looking at the photos, each time recalling a different emotion. 

We bloody love them, and we are so grateful to you for your kindness, your professionalism and your support before, during and after Savannah’s birth.  We can’t wait to tell her about you when she’s older. 

And if we go for baby #2, you’ll be our first port of call! 

Thank you so much for everything Liane.  We are so humbled, so grateful, and so thankful for you and your work.

So much warmth, and beautiful blessings,

Steve, Kez, Sav & Kev xoxo

A daylight homebirth

When it comes to birth, my philosophy is that what is good for mum is good for everyone. The January Harshe quote comes to mind:

"I don't care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, an epidural hospital birth or if you give birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected."

Im careful when I talk about birth/feeding because I don’t ever want you to think I would or could judge you for your decisions. Thats not my role. I subscribe to the concept of unconditional positive regard, which means that I believe in your decision making and will support you regardless.

So with this in mind, Im going to start sharing more birth stories on my blog (naturally, if you’re seeing it here that is because I have express permission from the families I serve)

The Arrival of Silver Lou

This particular birth I arrived just in time. Just.

We were awaiting the arrival of their third baby, mama had been on-again-off-again labour for two weeks. Dad called me around 11am and said ‘look im just heading home from work, she might be in labour…I don’t know if you want to come down?’ Since this birth was just over an hour from my home and I knew the traffic would be light I said ‘Look, id love to come down now and if I arrive and its too early or you feel like im bothering you i’ll leave.’ I found out later that as he left work the guys joked that he would be back in an hour.

As I pulled up out the front of the house and went to get my camera bag from the passenger seat I could hear mum and thought. Oh we are ON! My many years on the triage desk at The Womens’ Hospital has attuned my ear.

I raced across the road, took a deep breath and stepped into the house as gingerly as I could. They were right in the zone. Dad in the pool with mama and the nurses were relaxed but close by. This baby wasn’t far away.

When I went back to look at the time of the photos from the moment I arrived out the front of the house to babies arrival was nine minutes!

This mama so calmly breathed her baby out and I will never forget the looks on their faces when they realised they had a baby girl after two boys. Because Silver was born into water, the nurses explained, she hasn’t realised she’s been born. She was so calm as Rhiannon gently blew air onto her face as a way to let her know she had reached the surface.

Im so incredibly blessed to work with these amazing families who not only allow me to witness and document such a sacred moments but also allow me to share these image with you.

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A few of my favourite things.....

I LOVE: 

- Coffee. Ill either have a Long Black or an Almond Magic depending on the mood

- Bulgogi and Kim Chi (Korean food for the win!)

- Thick paper and the smell of old books

- Loose leaf tea in handmade ceramic mugs

- The benefits of meditation, even though I sometimes struggle to prioritise the practice

- Reading the daily routines and rituals on https://mymorningroutine.com

- Podcasts of all descriptions but especially Health Fuels Hustle, The Life Coach School and Good Company with Grace Bonney.

- My favourite flowers are ranunculus 

-  Both the mountains AND the beach (please don't make me choose)

- Dancing with my husband when no-one is watching, in the lounge room, in the Coles carpark..in my experience real romance is not like the movies

- Birth! The pulsing umbilical cord, the vernix, the quiet moments between contractions, the sweet whispers in your partners ear. People think I'm a birth photographer because I like babies but Ive gotta tell you a little secret...... for me its not about the babies. I love strong, wild women. I love seeing the connection with their partners. I love seeing them in awe of what their body is capable of. Who wouldn't fall in love with that? 

Now its your turn, tell me at least 3 things you LOVE. 

Fine wine, cheese....some things get better with time

Some things get better witth time. Have you ever thought about purchasing something, ummed and ahhed and then eventually gone through with it?. Then as time passes its become more valuble? 

I had a family portrait painted by one of my favorite Etsy sellers. I think I had been following this artists work for about a year before I decided to take the leap and make the purchase. At the time it was slightly more than I would like to spend and it felt like such an indulgent purchase. Who was I to spend so much on something just for me? 

Fast forward 3 years and I'm ssoo glad I did! Shortly after I made the purchase she announced that her business was going in a different direction and she would no longer be doing custom portraits. I loved this picture when she sent it to me and I think every time I look at it I love it more and more. Gradually the meaning of the picture changed, from a cute family portrait that we later printed on our wedding invitations, giving it so much more meaning. 

Its now printed on high quality, 300gsm paper, framed and has pride of place in the back of our lounge-room. The picture has already moved house with us once and I can only imagine what will unfold in the future. 

So if you're hesitating when it comes to either birth photography or updating those family photos, whether its because you want to lose a few kilos first or because it seems like an indulgent spend. I like to think of the 'front porch' analogy. Now I have no idea why the oldies in this story like to sit on the front porch..but thats where they hang out. So think....you're an old lady sitting in your rocking chair with your bestie rocking next to you. What are you talking about? How tidy your house was when you got a new Dyson? Or how your life got better the older you got? Are you marvelling at how tiny your waist was when you were in your 30s and cursing that younger version of yourself for being stressed out about the occasional indulgence? Are you flicking through your family albums? I don't use the word 'investment' when it comes to photography because I know that you wont one day sell these photos and get a great ROI. What I do know is that financial markets aside, what is the point if not for a little indulgence? Not only will your-elderly-self thank you. But your great-great grandchildren will too. As much as I hate to think about it, I do worry that future generations will be left with millions of fast photos in a cloud that they never look back at. So hire a photographer, whether thats me or someone else. Hire someone to capture these memories forever and to distill the story into an album for the ages. 

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Picture by Jess Miles of In the Daylight