Self-Portrait of the Artist Giving Birth. ~ Ana Álvarez-Errecalde {Nudity & Childbirth}


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Umbilical Self-portrait from MiNuShu on Vimeo.

With this documental self-portrait (without Photoshop or any kind of image manipulation) of myself giving birth I want to challenge most of maternities in films, advertising and all of art history.

These maternities re-enforce the stereotypes that impart from heterosexual masculine fantasies, in which exist the duality of the mother/whore, making sacred all that has to do with the “mother” (maternity with veil included).

With these photos I wanted to show a maternity from my experience in which to give birth: I open, I transform, I bleed, I scream and I smile. I am standing up, with the placenta still inside me, linked to my baby by the umbilical cord and I decide when to photograph the birth.

I am the protagonist. I am a hero.

By giving birth I take off my “cultural” veil. My maternity is not virginal, not aseptic. I am the archetype of the primal woman, the woman beast that has nothing prohibited. I show a maternity not seen through the eyes of Eve (the divine punishment ”you will give birth with the pain of your body”) but seen through the eyes of Lucy (the earliest hominid found to date).

More Store: Ana Álvarez-Errecalde

Right now I am mounting the MORE STORE exhibition in Zagreb which will open on Oct. 4th—it will be part of a festival called “Extravagant bodies, extravagant age”.

More of Ana’s work: “Cesarean, Beyond the Wound” & Other Life Images.

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Assist Ed: Renée Picard/Ed: Sara Crolick


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Ana Álvarez-Errecalde

Ana Álvarez-Errecalde has exhibited at Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona (CCCB) Foment de les Arts i del Disseny (FAD), Centre d´Art Santa Mònica (Barcelona), Sala El Águila, Feria Estampa, Canal de Isabel II and Premio Jóven Universidad Complutense (Madrid), Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria), European Women Lobby (Bruselas), Galeria Vžigalica (Ljubliana, Eslovenia) Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (MALBA), Centro Cultural de España (CCEBA) and Festival de la Luz (Argentina). Her artwork has been published in catalogues, newspapers and cultural magazines and is part of private collections. Ob Stare edited her photographic book “Cesarean, beyond the Wound” which has a compilation of testimonies in English, Catalan and Spanish. Find more art at her webpage.



31 Responses to “Self-Portrait of the Artist Giving Birth. ~ Ana Álvarez-Errecalde {Nudity & Childbirth}”

  1. Liz Dion says:

    I absolutely loved this. Especially the ending lines about exposing yourself being just as vulnerable for the viewer. Many thanks for doing this.

  2. Brandiece says:

    Thank you got sharing.Beautiful and raw.

  3. Dee says:

    Beautiful. I needn't say more.

  4. says:

    Experience goes beyond insight before it becomes Art, life after the birth of a conception is no different.

  5. Julia says:

    We are very disconnected from the birthing experience, it is nice that we are starting to come full circle and that there is a renewed appreciation for what birth is, natural, messy and wonderful all at the same time.

    Loved your photos!

  6. Brittany says:

    Thank you for sharing something so sacred. My heart appreciates this!

  7. Kami says:

    Gorgeous, intimate, raw, truth is in your pictures and your eloquent words. I love that you are sharing your real experience with us. Your self empowerment is refreshing to women everywhere. Thank you for your generous gift of beauty <3

  8. Moana Meadow says:

    Beautiful, graceful, fierce, brave. Thank you for sharing your truth and enacting your dream!! Moana

  9. Precioso. Gracias por compartir algo tan íntimo. Para mi en particular, que tengo dos hijas nacidas por cesárea, el poder ver y leer partos naturales me ayuda a reconocer en mí el potencial de mi feminidad. Me ayuda a creer en mí y a transmitir a mis hijas el poderío del que gozan.

  10. anorphanshope says:

    How can I see the photos in the video? Are they posted elsewhere? Very powerful video! Thank you.

  11. Meggan says:

    Wow. Beautiful and real. Powerful and profound. I love it.

  12. Erica says:

    These gave me goosebumps! Very powerful images! I am a photographer, anthropologist, and, a midwife. I understand on so many levels the message you are sending. These images are powerful. I am interested to know tho, was your baby born this bloody or was this something you did with the blood for visuals? Just don’t normally see this much blood. Take care and love!

    • Hi Erica,

      These photographs are from the birth of my second child (first and only daughter). All my babies were born at home and only her birth had this amount of blood. It was very surprising to me too, but both her and I were doing great and there was nothing to worry about. Her umbilical cord was also thicker than the ones my sons had.
      I didn´t do anything for the visuals. I think these photographs were just meant to be done. Looking back to all my other birth experiences, this was the only one that allowed me to do a self-portrait. With my first birth, I didn´t know what to expect and I was too nervous about the whole thing. During my last birth, I was suffering from PUPPP and even if the birth was amazing, my whole body was swollen and itchy due to the incredible rash and I couldn´t have my mind on anything else but my baby and my itchiness…
      All the best to you and thanks for your message.

  13. MAube says:

    Thank you for this honest and beautiful portrayal of birth, the ultimate act of creation and a powerful symbol of true femininity.

  14. Ann says:

    Just beautiful and so incredibly profound….

  15. andeejo says:

    amazing. thank you for sharing your vulnerability and your strength.

  16. sarah gantenbein says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am reminded of where I read somewhere that the female pelvis is a "powerhouse" ( ..and I chuckle that you tell your husband probably no one will see the photos. 😉 )

  17. Dr Jeff Olejnik says:

    I love photography as a hobby and maternity and newborn photos are priceless. Your pictures are wonderful keepsakes. Your comment about your pictures not having any photoshopping is misleading because your photos are very much staged. You have your white background and facial and hair appearance are pretty much staged. Nothing wrong with that. But I have many years of delivering, even without pain meds and on patients in various positions. Your pictures are nice but not representative of an actual delivery. No one delivers onto a white background. But many women deliver naturally and smile and hold their baby within their home and you can feel the warmth of their home from the background of their home being seen. I feel like your pictures have a more or less “Heaven can Wait” or Bruce Almighty” feel to them with the all white backdrop. Just my opinion as a birth provider and artist photographer. It is unfair of you to say these are not edited for content because they clearly are. Nevertheless, precious photos to have and cherish.

    • Chu says:

      I get the same forced staged feeling. No one gives birth on a white background, blood smeared strategically, placenta placed, face washed, and hair done. Raw real birth is that completely exhausted mother, tears in her eyes, smiling at their baby (not into a camera) hair stuck to her face with sweat, holding a vernix and blood covered baby on her bare chest who is screaming in shock as he/she has been violentenly expelled from the only world they know into to something loud and cold. That is a more honest portrayal of birth. And someone snaps that picture in that moment in time.

  18. Abby Pingree says:

    Much admiration! Beautiful! Thank you!

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