These days I have been really intrigued by experiencing life through my photography. It is starting to become a visible alternate path of my photography career that I have a passion about, telling stories. One of my first steps were to shoot A Day In The Life of a Chef, and now I have witnessed and shot something that a single person would not normally see.
Julie + Roozbeh were our clients from way back when, and we have all grown to becoming such good friends. We shot their wedding, maternity, we played poker together at my place, partied at their house, and I now have the opportunity to shoot the birth of their second daughter, Jileh. This is something that is very different from what I’ve shot before and I am beyond ecstatic. They responded to my facebook update about wanting to shoot a birthing, and I am so glad that it was them. Keep in mind that at this point I’ve never really witnessed a birthing other than from the movies, and I heard so many stories about people fainting with the sight of blood, etc. I jokingly said to Julie + Roozbeh that I would be coming in with a helmet just in case if I fainted so I wouldn’t end up checking in the hospital as well, and his reply was: Don’t worry, Erwin.. at that point we don’t really care what happened to you (for anyone who knows Roozbeh, you have to expect a funny comment like that). I laughed in response.
I have a window of 1 week of being an “on-call photographer” in which I had brought my gear everywhere I go and I tried to keep my week open from any meetings so I can just get up and go when it is time. Their delivery would be at The Cedar-Sinai hospital and I was hoping that I wouldn’t get the news when there’s a lot of traffic towards Los Angeles (traffic in the LA area can be unbearable at times, and I just hope that I didn’t miss this opportunity because of this). Luckily, things went according to plan and Roozbeh called me on Friday night and told me that they are going to check in at the hospital on Saturday morning and it will be an induced birth.
I arrived Saturday morning and spent the whole day with them. There was a lot of waiting, silent moments alternating with funny moments. Around 1pm they moved Julie to the delivery room and we waited for another 3 hours or so before it all happened. I was dedicated to tell the story of the day and unfold everything that would happen to couples waiting for labor. It was a complete 180 from the wait to the labor time. I was nervous and excited at the same time, but to be honest, when I saw the baby’s head this indescribable feeling took control of me and I could just take the deepest breathe I can take and keep shooting. It was truly a magical feeling that words can not describe. I am literally holding myself not to tear up. As I was shooting, this thought popped in my head: I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like if it was my own.
Jileh was born after about less than 15 minutes of pushing, and I can just see the happiness and love flowing from Julie + Roozbeh. This was, and will most likely be the most intimate and magical experience I have shot for a very long time. Thank you Julie + Roozbeh for opening up their lives to me and for trusting me to document this experience. I am forever grateful and honored.
Obviously from these images, I did not faint. :)
This is the story through my lens:
Julie + Roozbeh joking around about their Lamaze classes
The waiting game. Julie is exhaling in boredom.
The painful contractions and Roozbeh being there for Julie.
Julie’s mom peeking in to say hi.
The delivery room is right across from the Beverly Center Mall
Julie + Roozbeh’s daughter, Laleh was so afraid of hospitals in general, and at this point she was terrified seeing her mom hooked up with so many tubes and needles. Poor thing.
More waiting game. Facebook and Solitaire to the rescue while Julie takes a short rest.
Pain. Exhaustion. Relief. Love. Happiness. Seeing her baby for the first time.
Roozbeh facebooking Jileh’s first photo to the world
I love this reaction by Julie’s mom and Roozbeh’s sister
A tender moment between mom and baby
Roozbeh’s dad showing his love for Julie.
And their first family portrait as a family of 4 :)
Congratulations again, Julie + Roozbeh + Laleh + Jileh!
Any other ideas of what I should be shooting next? :)