French photographer Christian Berthelot remembered the wonder of seeing his child cut from his mother’s womb – covered in blood he emerged, almost warrior-like! One year later, the photographer shot his first Caesarean section.
Over the previous twelve months, Christian had established trust with obstetrician Dr. Jean-Francois Morievnal, a photography enthusiast who had invited him to record the surgeries, an endeavour that required months of training and gathering of permissions, both from the hospital and from the expectant mothers.
Romane – born May 20, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. 2kg 935 – 8 seconds of life
Kevin – born December 27, 2013 at 10:36 a.m. 4kg 366 – 13 seconds of life
Christian’s series of forty newborns, titled Caesar, had mixes responses because of its direct confrontation of the brutality of birth. With creation, of course, comes destruction and that eternal struggle lies at the heart of his work.
“It is in these first few seconds of existence that all of the world is experienced most acutely, when terror and pleasure, delicacy and strength merges into one, timeless moment.”
Lize – born December 24, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. 3kg 574 – 9 seconds of life
Louann – born April 12, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. 3kg 574 – 14 seconds life
Steven – born December 21, 2013 at 4:31 p.m. 2kg 425 – 15 seconds of life
Mael – born December 13, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. 2kg 800 – 18 seconds of life
Liza – born February 26, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. 3kg 200 – 3 seconds of life
Leanne – born April 8, 2014 at 8:31 a.m. 1kg 745 – 13 seconds of life
“I know there are people who react very badly, who find it disgusting, they tell me that I do not have the right to show the children in the bloodstream,” Christian said.” Some even told me that it is not real, it is not true. This is absurd. Children are not born in cabbages or roses. And there are those who are fascinated, I give them the opportunity to observe in detail the violence of birth, but there are also people like my wife, who encouraged me to do this work, because caesarean is beautiful birth.”
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All images © Christian Berthelot