To some, birth is a beautiful thing.
For others, viewing birth through the lens of a camera is just as beautiful.
Birthing photographer Carlee Melenko captures those beautiful birthing moments.
Through her business, C.Daisy Photography, Melenko aims to catch the emotion and empowerment of the birthing experience.
“It’s an empowering thing. It’s your baby we’re talking about,” she said.
She found the unique style of photography after seeing photos on her friend’s Facebook page.
When she had her second child, she wanted to have a photographer capture the important moments.
“I looked back at those photos and thought, ‘I did that,’” said Melenko. “You don’t notice the photographer. It’s about the angle and capturing the emotion and energy that’s in the room.”
The 32 year old is new to birthing photography, but feels honoured to be a part of the process.
“It’s such a huge honour, it’s pretty powerful. It’s a privilege to be allowed in the room,” she said.
Birthing photography has faced controversy, though Melenko has been fortunate not to have encountered it so far.
Vernon born and raised, her goal is to create a birthing-photography niche for herself in the area around Vernon, Lumby and Salmon Arm.
She recognizes that Kelowna has birthing photographers, one of which is well-known photographer Krista Evans.
Melenko looks up to Evans.
“I want to be like her when I grow up,” she laughed.
Evans covers birthing mainly in Kelowna (where she is based) and Vernon, as well as Salmon Arm and Penticton.
She also shot Melenko’s daughter’s birth.
Last year, Evans received an honorary mention from the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers contest and with fame, came controversy.
The image, described by Evans, 34, is “quite peaceful and serene,” a pregnant woman in the shower, taking a drink of water from a bottle.
However, it shows the woman’s nipple.
“Facebook blocked me for three days for pornography,” she said.
When she put the photo up a second time, it was banned for seven days, and then, when she edited out the nipple and replaced the photo she was blocked a third time with the next threat of being banned for life.
“When I have to edit what I post I can’t communicate,” she said.
This also had an affect on her business.
“I couldn’t answer questions from my clients. It’s annoying and unfortunate.”
The page is a community, she said. People who have experienced birth trauma or having birthing questions go to the page to communicate. Men and women use the page, she said.
“I sure do have a lot of support.”
Evans once received a message from a stranger from the Middle East, saying how her photography inspired the woman to open up to her friends and share birthing stories, even though it was taboo in their culture.
Both Evans and Melenko use social media to promote their businesses and to highlight intimate moments, not the dirty details of a birth.
“We’re not showcasing nudity,” said Evans.
Facebook’s community standards states: “We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breast feeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”
Melenko uses examples such as Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, who have shown their cleavage and rear ends, and said she’d rather have her kids witness a birth than see celebrity private photos.
Evans wants to have her art viewed as art rather than pornography.
“My (child) was in the room when my other daughter was born,” said Melenko.
For more information on Melenko, visit C. Daisy Birth & Lifestyle Photography on Facebook. For more about Evans visit kristaevans.com.