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Birth Photography – An Interview

Birth Photography – An Interview

In the last year we’ve touched on the area of Birth Photography in our blog and given a brief glimpse into what defines this field. At the time we hoped that this service would begin to find more of an audience in Germany in order to give more families the opportunity to professionally record the unique moments of birth.

During the recent Lactation Conference in Cologne, we met Esther Mauersberger, a mother herself and one of the first professional birth photographers in Germany. Naturally, we wanted to use this chance to get to know Esther and her work!

© Esther Mauersberger

© Esther Mauersberger

Esther, you’ve offered birth photography in and around Cologne since 2012. What made you decide to get involved?

I knew about birth photography from the USA, and I was very disappointed during my own pregnancy in 2011 to find that it didn’t exist here. For our wedding we spent a fair amount on the photography but we to this day can’t get enough of the images! I even considered inviting the wedding photographer over for the birth! But a man…and for my first birth…well, it ended up for us exactly as it does for many, a few blurry cell phone pictures are the only record of the birth of my daughter on the 25.02.12. Afterwards I simply couldn’t let go of the idea. I bought a camera and began to practice, to read, to test out new techniques, to attend workshops, all with the aim of learning about birth photography.

What do you try to capture in your images?

I aim to capture the first day together, a day which contains such wildly diverse experiences. It begins with a heavily pregnant woman, but on this day the pregnancy finally comes to an end and will forever after be remembered as the “Birthday”. The images show off the wonderful feminine form of a woman and her transformation into a force of nature. I want to show how beautiful women are in this phase of their lives! And not just this, but also the deep emotion of a man who has just become a father; the awe in his eyes when he looks at his partner. Last but not least, the baby and his or her arrival earthside. My aim is to document this arrival, this event that can never be repeated.

© Esther Mauersberger

© Esther Mauersberger

How does it work? And what does it cost?

On a practical level, the mother-to-be stays in close contact with me as she nears the due date. In the week of the due date I’m on call, so that means I have arranged childcare for my daughter and can hit the road whenever I get the important phone call. My cell phone is on day and night, just like the midwife. The camera battery is charged and the memory card is empty. In order to capture the many facets of the birth, it’s a good idea for me to be there from the first stage of active labour. After the birth I’ll stay for 1-2 hours. The service costs around 650 Euros. Depending on distance, travel costs may need to be added on top of this.

How was your first experience of documenting a birth?

The first birth I was able to photograph was that of a friend. That was the first time i was able to feel this great honour of being present on such a special day. It was a fair distance to travel, around 2.5 hours. I was excited, nervous, emotional. The father-to-be greeted me at the door quite flustered and it was so still in the house, simply a magical atmosphere. As the baby started to enter into the world after many hours of labour, my hands shook. When he was finally born, I was looking through the camera lens through a film of happy tears. That was the first time, and it has been like that every time since.

 

© Esther Mauersberger

© Esther Mauersberger

In the USA, birth photography is well known and has been in place for a long time. What sort of reaction have you received so far in Germany?

The reactions range from “Finally!” to “Why would anyone want to photograph that?” I hope that my images can answer this question themselves. Why would you want to photograph a birth? Because each birthday is a magical day – every single picture is evidence of that. Memories fade, but a picture can recount a moment precisely, and you can look at it as often as you wish.

Thank you Esther, for this interview and for your work. We wish you and all interested families many unique moments!

If you’d like to know more about Esther, visit her website. She also offers pregnancy, postnatal and ritual photography and looks forward to your enquiries!

We also know of two englisch speaking birth photographers in Berlin. If this interests you, please contact Lorna lorna.ather@maternita.de.

All pictures contained are subject to copyright of Esther Mauersberger.

 

1 Comment
  1. Ganz toll! Esther weiß das Wunder der Geburt sooo zu schätzen. Sie war es, die mich inspririerte, diesen Service auch in Brandenburg und Berlin anzubieten…Tausend Dnk dafür! <3

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