20 Raw And Beautiful Birth Photos Captured By Dutch Photographer Renate Van Lith
Renate van Lith is a Dutch photographer who specializes in birth and newborn photography. She has recently been awarded the prestigious title of International Birth Photographer of the Year 2020 at the Birth Photographer International Image Competition (BPIIC), and says she nearly fell off her chair when she read the news.
The woman says says she entered the world of photography five years ago by accident. “At the time, I was still working as an inspector in the childcare industry. Each civil servant received a career budget that could be spent on something that had nothing to do with their own profession,” explained Renate. “With that money, I followed the basic training at the photography trade school.”
Renate says that at first, she only intended for it to be a hobby but it quickly got out of hand and she even quit her job to follow her passion. “Birth photography is so special. All the emotions you can think of will pass by: relief, tension, exhaustion, sadness, and joy. I see everything through the lens,” says the photographer. “It is very special to be part of that as a photographer. I think it’s great that people trust me to be in such an intimate moment.”
During the years, Renate attended dozens of deliveries but only does a maximum of two per month. She says that you can’t plan a hundred of these photoshoots in a year since you never know when labor will start and there’s not colleague that she can alternate with. “It is therefore very intense. I have experienced deliveries lasting more than 24 hours,” shared the photographer. “Then, you work non-stop, without a break, and without sleep.”
Renate is also the founder of the Birth & Beyond Photography Awards, a photography competition for family photographers who capture motherhood and everything that goes into it. “I thought it was important that there were more opportunities for birth photographers to submit their work to photo contests,” says the photographer. “As a lifestyle, fresh 48, and birth photographer, I was often left out with my genre and there was often no competition that suited me. At the Birth & Beyond Photography Awards, there is a special birth category, in addition to more common categories such as pregnancy, newborn, baby, children, and family. Motherhood should be celebrated, right?! All genres are therefore welcome: studio, portrait, fine-art, fresh 48, lifestyle, documentary, posed and un-posed photography, and more.”
See more of Renate’s raw and beautiful birth photos in the gallery below!