When Your Pregnant Photographer Captures Your Birth, the Results Are Stunning
For Alaska-based photographer Sharon Johnson, photographing her friend Elizabeth Ashdown's birth was a practice run. Not in the sense that she'd be shooting another birth soon, but 25 hours later she'd be the one on the hospital bed holding her newborn child in her arms.
"I was 39 weeks and six days along in my pregnancy when I photographed this birth," Johnson shared. "Not only that, but I was going to be delivering at the same hospital, with the same midwives, and with the same doula. So, when I walked in the hospital the midwives and staff definitely thought I was in labor!"
Luckily for Ashdown, who went into labor three weeks early, her best friend's baby decided to stay inside just a few hours more. The two women, who are both photographers, met when they were both new to Seattle. "We moved to Seattle within a few weeks of each other, both had toddler girls, were both photographers, and found out quickly after meeting that we were actually married in the same venue on the same day within a few hours of each other. And we ended up moving away from Seattle within weeks of each other a year later. Crazy how our lives were so in sync."
That rhythm between the women definitely shows in the captivating photos Johnson captured of baby Charlotte's birth. Johnson says she's constantly disappointed by her inability to photograph everything: "With every birth being so different you never know what to expect and I just photograph what is going on. Of course I have a system, as I should, but that system changes every birth to accommodate the situation, so a list of 'wants' just have me disappointed constantly." But we think it's safe to say this is one well-documented birth.
"I usually get a little teary-eyed at births, but this birth I was just a bucket of tears," she says. And we are, too! Keep reading to see how Johnson photographed the event.