Category Archives: Uncategorized

International Babywearing Week – Adelaide Birth Photographer

Recently I had the pleasure of undertaking a commercial shoot for Ankalia – and Australian Owned and Operated business who proudly design, weave, and hand finish their products locally. Alexandra and Kellie are a power team who bring their unique products to a socially conscious, fashion aware, attachment parenting, consumer.

Ankalia’s latest wrap design featured in this session was created and modelled by Elizabeth Close, and Australian Indigenous Artist. Her daughter is the beautiful model accompanying her in this stunning wrap. You can view more of Elizabeth’s work here: Elizabeth Close – Aboriginal Artist

Ankalia Nganana || FUSION

Nganana – “all of us” (pronounced NUN-nun-nah – in Pitjantjatjara words, the emphasis is on the first syllable) Aboriginal Australia is made up of over 500 Language Groups – we are far from one homogenous group! We don’t have tribes (the word tribe has specific anthropological connotations – namely having a ‘Cheiftan’ – think Native American) rather, we have Countries.


I am a Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara woman from the APY lands in Central Australia. These two language groups together collectively refer to ourselves as ‘Anangu’ – the P/Y word for ‘people’. These two languages are largely the same.


This design reflects and celebrates the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their countries. It reflects the rich tapestry which is Indigenous Australia. These language groups are all so different; all with their own history, language, art, dance, song, dreaming, stories and law.


However, we come together and stand together as one. As much as we are different, in many more ways we are the same. As much as single countries we are beautiful, collectively – we are breathtaking. ‘Nganana’ is a Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara word that means “all of us”. This word perfectly reflects the artwork.

Perth, WA Presentation Evening – Why Birth Photography?

Event details

Thursday, 23 October 2014, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

THE NEST ON SILAS – Unit 2 Number 8 Silas St, East Fremantle, WA, Australia

Bookings via thenestonsilas.com.au/whats_on/birth-photography/

Enjoy an evening with Victoria Berekmeri as she defines what Birth Photography is really about, sharing her experiences working in a genre that’s pushing social boundaries. Victoria Berekmeri is the 2014 AIPP Canon Australian Birth Photographer of the Year and 2013 AIPP Canon Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year. She operates a specialist birth photography business and runs workshops for photographers in Australia and New Zealand.

“I’ve been shooting births since 2010 and decided to focus my energy and create a separate birth branded business at the end of 2012, incorporating maternity, birth, bonding and newborn sessions. My plan was to be different, gain lots of experience and up my skills as quickly as possible, offer something that honoured the birth experience for women, win awards for my work, exhibit my work for the powerful message it holds, and help others to build their knowledge so they don’t have to learn lessons in a way that could damage the perception of birth photography. In essence, I made a decision to commit to this genre because I felt 100% aligned with the service I could provide and the value it held in my heart.” ~ Victoria Berekmeri

Silver Award - 2014 APPA Birth Category This presentation is suited to photographers, birth workers and couples interested in the concept of birth photography and the power these stories hold. Victoria will explore the WHY behind Birth Photography, looking into the etiquette, privacy and perception of Birth Photography, guiding you through the important elements of understanding this genre from various points of views. Then reaching into the broader depths of the topic – Australia is progressing through some challanging times in relation to maternity services and the social norms surrounding birth are in need of positive shift. Could sharing birth stories and imagery help normalise birth and create a birth culture more supportive of ideals such as continuity of care for women through pregnancy and lower interventions? This session will contain images of child birth and stories that will challange your ideas on birth culture in Australia. vic_sappa_MG_0024

APPA Birth Photography Category – New in 2014

Last September, I won the title of 2013 AIPP Australian Professional Documentary Photographer of the Year. I never posted about that here… life kind of took over, the roller coaster had well and truly started me on a ride around crazy town!

Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year

Thinking back on that experience, it was nothing short of incredible! When I joined the industry officially back in 2009, I was so inspired by the work of photographers in the APPA’s and in the back of my mind I secretly hoped I’d win a category some day. I never dreamed it would be so soon. The journey to that point was jam-packed full of long days, late nights, learning, growth and challenges. Not only was I challenging my skills and knowledge by entering the AIPP state awards, I was challenging social norms, personal barriers and industry ideals about the scope of domestic photography.

I have owned my journey, made it my own and taken the experience for what it is – recognition for taking risks, working incredibly hard and playing an active role in the industry. Over the months since being awarded, I have built my business with a sense of empowerment, I’ve had wonderful opportunities open up, developed my public speaking skills, connected with some very beautiful people and challenged myself further, in ways that have changed me for the better.

Winning the documentary category was an interesting situation however. Birth photography is in the early stages of public recognition, despite the fact that professional photographers offering this service for many years before I started. The APPA awards system had not been set up to judge birth photography in a way that honoured the true nature of the genre. Over the last 6 months, an important process of defining the genre within the realm of the AIPP has seen a supported push towards setting this domestic genre apart from others officially recognised in the professional industry.

AIPP BPPRO

I am incredibly proud to be a part of a team full of passionate birth photographers who have helped shape the new standards of professional birth photography within Australia. Within the AIPP Special Interest Group (SIG), accredited photographers have discussed and agreed on a code of ethics for birth photographers, created a new national birth photography website and directory.

All AIPP accredited photographers who offer birth photography to their clients are invited to submit their profile by contacting the AIPP here: http://birthphotographypro.com.au/contact-us/. You will then be sent a request for all the necessary information to get your listing up and running. All you need are your website details, portfolio images and a bio to complete your listing and then you can be a part of a community of photographers who are working together to drive forward the genre within Australia.

So the latest achievement to announce is the creation of a new awards category for the APPA’s, one that will better represent the genre of birth photography. Introducing the new APPA Birth Photography Category! You can view the award rules here. I’d love to see as many photographers submit their work into this category in 2014 as possible. It would make a great statement about the passion that stands behind this special genre of photography. I see it as an avenue to open up new opportunity to those of us who focus our business on birth and honouring the women who commission us. Even if you’ve never entered awards before, even if you’re not an AIPP member, this category is open to anyone who loves working in this genre. This category is going to be the best bench mark and most recognised event by the general public to expose the true beauty and excellence of birth photography wtihin Australia.

If you are willing to make the step to entering the awards, I’d love to hear from you. I’m happy to assist in any way I can to help you out on this journey of learning and growth. You have everything to gain when you take the jump, we all do when we stand united.

Let’s show Australia what incredible collective talent and passion we all have to change the way the world views birth, on our own terms.

 

Australian Birth Photography Workshops

I have teamed up with some of Australia’s beautiful professional birth photographers to organise a tour of my Birth Photography Workshops.

The idea has been to create very intimate workshops (5 or 6 photographers) where we share the experience of etiquette, professionalism & technique to honour women, families and the birth space. By sourcing inspiring, local birth workers to share their thoughts and experiences also, it provides participants an opportunity to network and build rapport with members of their birthing community.

Currently we have one workshop organised for Geelong, near Melbourne in Victoria and two workshops organised for Hamilton in New Zealand. With more workshops in the pipeline, head over to the special website and subscribe to keep up to date with announcements.

www.birthphotographyworkshops.com

Australian Birth Photography Workshops

Collection Contributions – A Gift Registery for Adelaide Birth Photographer

Happy New Year to all of my followers!! It’s going to be an exciting one here as I turn up the notch on exposing the joy and value of this magnificent genre of birth photography…

First off I’d like to formally introduce Collection Contributions.
If you’re planning a Baby Shower or if your workplace is looking to contribute towards a gift, request a Collection Contribution account. Financial contributions towards your photography sessions and products of any amount are welcome. As a special deal, I will also provide a further 20% credit to the total contribution amount!

The credit offer is valid for new sessions booked between January and June – for now, but we’ll probably extend it  ;-p

Cheers!

Adelaide Birth Photographer

Where are they now? “That” birth photograph…

It’s been 8.5 months since I photographed this amazing little girl enter the world. She would have to be one of the most famous baby’s I know, seen by tens of thousands of people all over the world taking her first breath. This is Brea – the baby in the photograph I took which not only won Gold at the AIPP National Awards this year, but was more famously known for its removed from Exhibition after complaints that the image was too graphic for public display.

Brea has now had two lots of surgery on her heart so far. Her journey through this first year has certainly been full of action for a little baby. Loving parents Kirsty and Brent are nevertheless enjoying every possible minute with their special daughter, just like any new parents. Brea is full of smiles, intrigue and love. It was such a pleasure to photograph this young family again. I can’t ever imagine not being a part of their lives in this small way. xx

How to be a GREAT Birth Photographer? Raising the bar.

Adelaide Birth Photographer

Birth photography – it’s amazing, inspiring, emotional, powerful, heart wrenching, empowering… It’s everything to those who are passionate about birth and photography. You’ll be aware of the rise in popularity of this genre, but it’s been around in the domestic market for many years. Slowly though it’s come into the limelight. As popularity for birth photography grows amongst pregnant women, so does the interest in those wishing to photograph birth.

What are the drivers making birth photography more visible? Perhaps it’s the fact that birth itself is becoming more visible in the social eye due to a synergy between social media and an undercurrent of need towards challenging social norms. There is clearly a growing movement towards understanding the lingering effects of birth outcomes in women and I’d suggest as time goes along, children also suffer the effects of birth outcomes.  Birth photography is one very powerful tool to enabling many positive effects for both the individuals directly involved and potentially the wider community as these images and the life shifting journeys spread.

Each and every labouring mother and birth journey for a baby is different in the details. The commonality though is that at the conclusion of this profound life event, the mother will have a sense of emotional impact far greater than almost anything else she’s encountered in her life – and that feeling can be positive or negative and almost always long lasting. Birth photographers are driven to capture these stories, generally because they have lived through them first hand, and they hold their own journey’s with high sense of value and have a strong desire to contribute to the community of womanhood.

The fundamental question to ask yourself when contemplating becoming a birth photographer is this:

Why do I want to be a birth photographer?

The answer to this question should be long! Ones commitment to answering this question is the first responsibility that should be considered if there is a serious desire to honour this genre, the women who will be photographed, the birth workers who support these women, the community of birth photographers who invariably work towards the same common goal, and the wider community who will benefit from the desire to challenge past ideals. It will take time to answer well. The answer will likely evolve as you learn and grow. The answer to many important decisions made within a birth photography business will be based on the important elements within the unique response to the above question.

Discovering the finer details of your suitability, strengths and weaknesses will also lie within your answer. Your personality fit for the environments you will work in, the way you deliver your service, the products you offer will all come into the spotlight through this process. The greater the investment of time, energy and money in this process the more you will understand the true value, respect and perspective needed to do this job justice.

My greatest advice to any aspiring birth photographer is to find a mentor or group of like-minded birth professionals to connect with before jumping into this genre. Especially DON’T jump in without technical camera experience, an understanding of the birth process and your deep motivations left thoroughly unanswered. Failing to arm yourself with the skills and knowledge to offer a professional service within the birth environment will likely lead you down a path that may very well go against every good intention that you have, and potentially damage the way birth photographers are viewed in the wider community.

A recent article entitled “Birth Photographers – How To Be A GREAT Birth Photographer”, written by well-respected Birth Attendant, Kelly Winder, has sparked some interest in the birth photography community within Australia. The article came at a pertinent time for me as I was actively questioning how birth professionals felt about the presence of photographers in their vocational setting.

I did find the article title a little disconcerting as I pondered how a doula would know what it takes to be a great birth photographer. In my case, as a professional birth photographer, the majority of my time is spent sitting in a dark room working on images, designing 100+ page birth books and doing various business administration work, with a lesser fraction of time actually meeting with clients and being present at a birth.  The role of a photographer is vastly different to the role of a doula or midwife and as such would draw a different span of personality types to the scene. At the end of the day though, the objective indicators of success are fundamentally the same – to conduct oneself with respect, honour the birth space and serve your client and their expectations.

I quickly realised however that there lacks an overall understanding of what birth photographers do, not only by those who perhaps work alongside of them, but by those who wish to be birth photographers themselves. That’s quite valid and understandable because how many people really know the ins and outs of being a doula or midwife unless you are practicing or studying to be one? At the end of the day, gaining insight from all angles and seeking reviews from all those directly involved with birth photographers in any capacity is a highly effective strategy to define your service and implement improvement. I’m a firm believer in solving problems at the source, to take the time to embark on these discoveries to learn and grow. Many of the “problems” Kelly mentions in her article seem directed at the conduct of birth photographers on the job and could be thoroughly addressed if we all practiced a little more transparency and promoted other keen photographers to become curios from the beginning.

I enjoyed hearing key points to conducting yourself within the birth space, arming yourself with an understanding of the birthing process and common anxieties faced by other birth workers. The article confirmed my suspicions that I was in fact adequately qualified in the eyes of a doula to be present at such a deeply important event. It clearly offered ambitious birth photographers options to attend independent birth practitioner workshops and the like. Certainly helpful ideas. Ultimately I suspect attending a birth photography lead workshop that included an informative session from an independent midwife and birth worker would be a very wise investment. Watch this space!!

I hear often from other aspiring birth photographers that it has been difficult to gain information to enter this field and have been turned away by other photographers who are less inclined to share their journey. Perhaps this is because they don’t feel enough self-defined confidence that the knowledge and experience they have is worth sharing. Perhaps they are protective of their business and feel perturbed with the idea that arming another person with the tools to be more competition will undermine their own position in the marketplace. After all, making a solid living from shooting births exclusively is a very hard ask because it’s so undervalued at the moment (but that’s a whole other topic!).

These fears need to be addressed in the photography industry as a whole, but especially within the birth field because I deeply believe they will hold back the full benefit and positive impact this genre could have on women in our society, along with the success of defining the true value of birth photography and the wider birth worker community. The article really highlighted to me the fact that as birth photographers, to truly honour the genre and all those involved in birthing, we need to overcome our own fears and start asking questions and paying forward the support we have received.

On the topic of fears, I wanted to make mention that I know some photographers have been exposed to uncomfortable levels of bullying and curtailment from hospital and birth support staff. I wonder how this makes the labouring women feel, being the one who has specifically commissioned the photographer to be there. I would also consider that the birth photographer herself is perhaps very sensitive to her own emotional situation within the birth environment (one of the aspects of her personality which makes her a wonderful fit for the job) which would impact strongly on her feelings to being pushed around by these staff. After all, her objective is to be that fly on the wall, a discrete entity supporting from the sidelines in a far less visible way but in an infinity profound one.

In my opinion, there is simply no place for this kind of defensive attitude by anyone in the birth space where the priority should be about the mother and baby. It is certainly worth discussing outside these environments however, with a view to improve practices and raise the bar. At the end of the day, birth photographers are becoming a part of the team because the mother wants them there. She is the one who values birth photography because she honours her own strength and mastery of being able to create the most precious people in her world, and she wants it captured. By the time she’s in labour, she is highly likely to be comfortable with her photographer’s personality and style after having spent adequate time in her company sharing in meaningful ideas, opinions and experiences. She will be informed of the impact that details, such as flash, will have in the birth setting after her expectations have been thoroughly discussed and explained. Least of all, she will want the birth photographer present because she feels assured in her choices to have her story captured and told in the best light possible that will honour all those helped her and her baby on this profound life journey.

Moving forward, let’s open up the doors of communication between birth workers and photographers. If you’re already a birth photographer, keep your reasons fresh in your mind about why you decided to tackle this genre. Help raise the bar for everyone by challenging your own fears and blockages, thinking outside the square, putting yourself in the shoes of all those who matter in the birth space. Review your ideas and ideals, confront the road blocks, build on your foundations, and communicate actively with your peers where you can. Pay it forward and help raise the bar, bring the profile of birth photography up to not only improve social awareness of positive birth practices, but also benefit the individuals you most desire to help. And finally if you are an aspiring birth photographer, be empowered to always ask questions and arm yourself with the knowledge and skills to do truly honour birth. I invite you to email me personally if you’ve found this genre difficult to gain insight into. victoria@adelaidebirthphotographer.com.au