Going in reverse — Cindy heroically birthed Seneca Thien Anh Hanul Kim after an arduous 52 hour labor. For personal reasons, I wanted to keep the pregnancy photos “low key”, but now that Hanul is here and I also wrote about photographing his birth, I wanted to use this opportunity to review the last 9+ months of Cindy and pregnancy — and to reflect on this beautiful journey:
This is the first ultrasound photo which made shit feel real. Seeing his little nose, and the silhouette of his face nearly brought me into tears.
Skipping ahead a lot, we also got a 3D ultrasound of Seneca — which surprisingly looks a lot like how he was birthed:
The nose is pretty spot on, as well as his lips, eyes, and the overall proportions of his face.
When we first learned we were pregnant, we decided to keep Seneca’s gender/sex a surprise. To prevent from “gendering” the baby too early, but also as a way to keep a “blank slate”regarding our future child.
Treating every moment and progress stage as sacred
What is incredible to me is that every step of the way, every moment was beautiful and sacred. While the miracle of childbirth is phenomenal, the miracle of pregnancy is also phenomenal. To think that simply from the semen of a man and the egg of a woman can arise a totally brand new human being — this is phenomenal.
The importance of going back to the beginning after the childbirth
Pregnancy is a journey. It’s one of the most difficult, painful, and often traumatic things a woman and man and couple can experience, but also one of the most bountifully joyful and exuberant experiences in life. I can best describe the experience as the most profoundly painful and frightening, but also the highest of highs of any joy I’ve ever experienced. In other words, you can reach a new level of lowness, but also unlock a new level of highness.
The ultimate test
Every experience and moment of the pregnancy was beautiful — even the difficult ones. As a photographer, I wanted to capture the beauty, joy, and also intoxicating mystery behind the whole pregnancy journey and experience. I also didn’t want all the photos to be too “obvious”. While the belly bump is certainly the most sensational type of image you can make, to try to obscure things and make things more hidden, mysterious and open-ended was an interesting challenge for myself.
Producing art from pregnancy
It was my personal ambition to make beautiful pregnancy photos. Artistic, artful, and beautiful images. Hopefully elegant in their simplicity, but also profound in the love I infused into the images.
Camera always on hand or in pocket
RICOH GR III as the perfect camera for this, as I didn’t know which moments would be significant before the fact. Also, to not just photograph Cindy, but also small details here and there. Photos of ultra sounds, post it notes, meals shared, etc.
The never-ending journey
This is the beauty, joy and miracle of life:
It is a never-ending stream of “becoming”.
As Seneca grows, so will we. We will change, our family and interpersonal dynamics will change, and everything will always be in a state of flux. And this is what makes life so sacred, and unfathomably beautiful.