I'm generally a pretty conservative person. As a birth photographer, I'm very conservative about the images I share with my audience.  The last thing I want is a potential client seeing an image that shows more skin than they are comfortable with and thinking, "There's no way I'd want pictures taken of me like that when they might end up all over the internet!"  If a client can't trust me with her images, I'm out of a job.  (And if you are uncomfortable with an unsexualized display of nudity, please do not scroll down any further.)

But some clients are totally okay with images that others might be uncomfortable with. Some clients are themselves a part of the "birth world" and are used to seeing (and very appreciative of) beautiful images of a woman in labor.  Even if sometimes that image might show more skin or, gasp, even a breast.  These aren't pornographic, sexualized images.  These are beautiful images of a woman doing one of the most natural things in history: giving birth.

There's a big birth photography image contest coming up.  It is THE contest for birth photography.  I have a beautiful image of a woman laboring, an image which I consider to be art.  Nudes have always been a part of the art world, and I feel this image is among my best work of the year.  So, I posted it with several other images in a private, secret group of professional birth photographers on Facebook.  It got reported for nudity and eventually removed by Facebook. Does the image violate Facebook terms of service?  Yes, although even FB has begun taking steps to put an image into context before deciding whether it warrants being removed or not.  Breastfeeding images and birth photos have become more accepted by the powers that be at Facebook in recent months.  However, I NEVER, ever thought that this image would be an issue in this particular group of birth photographers.  Would I have posted it on my wall?  No.  Should it have been a problem posting it in this group. Certainly not.

Since it has been removed from Facebook, and there is demand to see the image, I am posting it here.  I have full permission from the client and a model release to use this image.  I would never post it if the client (in this case a childbirth educator) was uncomfortable.  And will you see it in the birthphotographers.com IAPBP Image of the Year contest?  Yesterday I would have had doubts.  But today I'm absolutely sure this will be my entry. :)