Journal No. 1
What Have I Shot?
I recently changed photographic careers. This past year I started working in a hospital. Now I shoot babies! (sorry for the euphemism, I have a sarcastic sense of humor.) I absolutely love it. I walk into 5-12 rooms a day with a mother and her new child. I describe to the parents my job, that they receive a free session. I take magical portraits of their baby. There are a lot of things to love about this job. Very few positions I’ve done required so much portraiture per day. When I first started I was nervous about how timid I might be around newborns. Fortunately, the training and working with the hospital staff have given me so much confidence that the question I receive the most is “Are you a father?”. There answer is no, to which they respond “well, you look very well prepared.” All I know is how to soothe a baby, I still have never changed a diaper…I don’t plan on it either. (if you don’t catch the joke here, I can’t help you). I wish I could show the photos I take but HIPPA is the reason I wont. The above images are of my nephew, be sure to arrow through to see the rest.
There is a difficult aspect of my job that is fairly uncomfortable to talk about, Bereavement. For the parents that have suffered a loss, it is my job to provide a portrait session. I take photos of babies that have passed. It is fairly emotionally challenging but serving as a technician; providing for families filled with despair, allows for a little separation from their trauma. I wish I could speak of the specific stories I have seen just to shed light on a subject so dark. I believe working as a lifeguard for 3 years gave me the experience maintaining professional composure in traumatic events. I take solace knowing the parents will cherish what I make for them, maybe not. I hear many parents are too divested to look again. There are three categories that I photograph. 1. Child alone. Usually we work with the nurse in a side room special for us. We take photos just like how we take photos for any other baby. Sometimes we are in the morgue, it is pretty unsettling. 2. Child with parents. This is a tough one. The emotions are more palpable. The session is again normal but includes portraits with the mother and/or the father holding their baby. Looking through the lens and focusing on their tears. It’s hard not to cry while working. 3. End of life. Sometimes parents know for a while that their child wont make it. This session is done in a photojournalistic way. Following the last moments of life. To be honest I haven’t done this one yet… So that is all pretty grim, moving on now. The good news (really?) is with modern medical procedures, infant mortality is pretty darn low.
B and I are walking though nature preserves. We both trade the camera and take photos. I don’t really know who took the above images. I guess it should be called a collaboration? I find the walks therapeutic. We slowly meander through the trails, stopping periodically to investigate. When I edit the images I listen to Johnny Cash or maybe the Gorillaz, while trying to emulate the soul. Nothing too deep here.
Finally, Cats! A delightful omnipresent photographic opportunity. A subject to practice photography with. Many times I wonder how to turn cat (or animal) photography into a career. Maybe one day you’ll see me doing luxury pet photography. I’ll call it Purr-traits…no, that’s a dumb name. I have formed deep relationships with the feline residents. One of which will be featured soon, she deserves her own post.
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