I am a fine-art photographer and mother based in the UK, creating Birth Undisturbed, an award-winning series staging scenes of childbirth. (www.birthundisturbed.com). All proceeds from clicks and tips go toward the next in the series.
In my 14 years online I’ve posted naked self-portraits that have been banned from Flickr, I've outraged activists with an ad campaign of stuffed animals which got pulled from a Hong Kong metro, and I've angered Italian Christians when I staged a scene of the Virgin Mary giving birth.
Why have I grown so fascinated by Martha Canary, the woman we know best as Calamity Jane? Most of us know the brusque gun-touting menace behind the charismatic Doris Day bombshell. The real Martha Canary, aka Calamity Jane, was born around 1852 in Princeton, Missouri, and made an orphan by age of 12. She went on to live a wayward life filled with immoral and riotous behaviour: she was an alcoholic, a prostitute, went on drunken sprees, robberies, and spent much time in jail. She smoked cigarettes and drank whisky at a time when such things were a vice. Historians have hosted a slew of reasons why she earned her well-known nickname, and just as many doubts and discrepancies over every single fact about her life. She even wrote lies about herself, to the point where fact and fiction are inextricable.
I only knew her for a week. I only know her name is Helen. We met on a summer school in the UK when I was 16. It was a week of creativity where we could make a film, or make pottery, or do photography.
Do you recognise this woman? Shot in the 1970s, it was just recently on exhibition alongside Tracey Emin and Paula Rego at the prestigious TJ Boulting in London.
Last week, I was dashing with arms greedily full of cakes and sandwiches, having placed my phone into the hood of my buggy, collapsing the buggy and handing it to the driver to stick in his trunk.
When I was little, I was curious about childbirth simply because it was never talked about. A woman would grow a baby in her belly, it would become a big bump, then one day, a baby appeared as if by magic.
Waterbirth might seem like a modern fad. Social media is full of images of women in the iconic blue blow-up pool, wearing bikinis and surrounded by loved ones, breathing their baby down with Hypno techniques.
What’s in the picture above? It’s a due date wheel. When you book in for your first pregnancy appointment, they use this wheel to line up your LMP (last menstrual period) to calculate the EDD, the estimated date of delivery—better known as your due date.