Here is the truth about newborns: they cry constantly, they eat constantly, and they poop constantly. They sleep for 10 minutes at a time (and look really cute while they do it). Then they wake up and cry, eat, poop some more. They are tiny and needy and snuggly, and they rob you of your sleep and sanity. You might fall head over heels in love with them right away, or it might take time. You might cry more than they do (I did). You will think about them every single moment of the day. You will ache for them when someone else holds them, and then you won’t know what to do with yourself the second you are left alone with them.
A year or two later, the memories of those first few weeks fog over and you start forgetting what it was like. Time helps our brains gloss over the sleep deprivation and feelings of insecurity, but in the process, we also start to forget those early morning snuggles and the sweet smell of baby head.
The newborn period is one of my favorite times to photograph, especially for new parents. It’s also a big motivator for me to move from a stylized lifestyle approach to a truly documentary approach. I want my photos to freeze time and help parents remember the ups and downs of the first few weeks. I also want to show all new parent that they aren’t alone. They may feel isolated, but they are going through a universal human experience. They may feel inadequate, but they are doing an amazing job.
Tanya and Tushar are a perfect example. You can feel the love they have for Kavi within minutes of meeting them and it came through loud and clear in their photos. Tanya’s model call submission form stood out to me because she so clearly captured the importance of documenting these early days:
“We have a newborn and so it's an exciting (and trying) time full of changes. Everything feels so hazy due to the sleep deprivation that it's hard to remember yesterday let alone 2 weeks ago. And yet I know that this is such a special time that we will very much want to look back on, so I love the idea of being able to capture the chaos, intensity, love, and tenderness of this moment. Especially this particular moment where I know my memory is not functioning to be able to retain any of it for me :-).”
I hope these photos will help Tanya and Tushar remember chaos, intensity, and love of the first few weeks with a newborn.