I took this photograph for a contest held by BluDomain, in which they asked for a self portrait holding a sign that answers "Why I Do What I Do."
When I read the contest, I knew immediately what I would say.
In September of 2005, my son, Gideon was born with a cleft lip and palate. It turned my world upside down. I'm told a lot that I have a very symmetrical face and that it's a sign of beauty. Honestly, I think that's incorrect. Beauty has nothing to do with high cheekbones or large eyes, or a certain color of hair.
I developed a passion for photography when I started to look deeper. Beauty to me has more to do with life and love, and the connection of people than anything else, and when I photograph a person, I seek to find that connection.
This post is also an introduction to the project I am working on. I will be photographing a number of children who were born with clefts. Some will be newborns with unrepaired clefts, and some will be older children. Some of the photographs will show them on their own, and some will show them with their families.
When my son was diagnosed at my prenatal ultrasound, I scoured the internet for photographs of children with clefts. I found a lot of photographs, but they were very medical, and very sterile. They focused on showing what a cleft looks like, and how wonderfully the doctors fix clefts. I wasn't looking for that. I needed something that would show me that these were real children who were loved, and who love in return. That they were a part of families and that they were happy. I was going to be a Mom to someone like them, and I needed to know who they were.
That's the mission of this project. To bring some reality and some life into the photographs that people will find on the internet of children with clefts.
Editing this post, because I was confused about my first session related to the cleft project will not be with Anna and her family, though I am very excited about it! My first session wil be with Alicia Linton's son Jeffrey who is due April 6th. I am looking forward to both of your sessions, and the others I have booked for the project.