Delhi-based Urshita Saini runs Momma Story, a birth photography studio that captures moments from the process of labour and childbirth for parents to document their newborn’s arrival.
When Birth photography was still an alien concept for Indians, Urshita Saini took up Birth Photography as a profession. She took her first photo of a mom giving birth in April 2017. But over the last five-odd years, Urshita’s Delhi-based company ‘Momma Story’ has completed 500 shots, of which 300 are done by her.
So what exactly is birth photography, and how is it different from pregnancy or post-delivery photoshoots? While the latter can be done with planning, the former is more about documenting the arrival of a human via c-section or vaginally.
“This is a common phenomenon in the West, but here in India, if you tell someone that a pregnant lady will be captured naked and vulnerable while on the operation table, they will call you crazy. Plus, there are issues because no one is supposed to see the newborn for 40 days to keep the baby protected from evil, etc. Only after you see the images do you realise how precious they are,” says Urshita.
For Urshita, who studied law because of social pressure to take a degree, Photography has always been a passion. She taught herself to shoot beautiful photographs with a DSLR camera. Then Urshita got a job in a magazine in 2016 as a photographer. For its second issue, the magazine focussed on the maternity section. While they found photographers for pregnancy and post-delivery shoots, they could not find a birth photographer. When they tried to find one and failed, a colleague of hers suggested that Urshita give it a try.
“I must have met some 20 doctors who turned me away. Finally, my father’s friend suggested I call a doctor running a charitable IVF hospital where NRI patients are in majority. When I started to talk to the patients, they all refused, and some were scandalized. After days, one couple agreed — I couldn’t believe it. That’s how my first assignment happened,” she says.
Urshita underwent training as a doula and learnt protocols like where to stand, what not to touch, maintaining the confidentiality of the doctor, etc. She had to unlearn all her photography lessons and adjust to the erratic lighting of the OT.
With the first assignment’s portfolio, Urshita quit her job and began receiving more clients. It kept getting better after every shoot and by the eighth one, she knew she had made it.
Now Urshita runs ‘Momma Story’, a birth photography studio. And she has many more in her team. And since no males, except the husband, are allowed inside the delivery room, Urshita only hires female photographers in her studio. The studio is a success and they are getting more assignments.
Credits: The Better India
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