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

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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Abby Pingree Oct 27, 2014 7:35pm

Much admiration! Beautiful! Thank you!

Dr Jeff Olejnik Nov 29, 2013 12:02pm

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.

sarah gantenbein Nov 10, 2013 11:56am

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. 😉 )

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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.