A MAN WHO WHISPERS (WITH A CAMARA) TO NEWBORNS
In early September 2015, while travelling through Galicia, a Celtic región of Northern Spain, I came across a young and very talented photographer, Diego Gomez. But hold on, he just doesn’t photograph ordinary stuff as one would think..! He specialises in photography of new born babies. Interesting..but yes that is what Diego does. He Previoulsy used to work for Grupo Photo Deporte (sport) and Evencia S.L. where He collaborated international events of RedBull AutosLocos or Mondraker Enduro Series before changing course to what he does today and with a lot of passion. Newborn photography has always been viewed as a female activity and hasn’t been very common with men, perhaps for obvious natural reasons. And Diego is one of few male photographers in Spain to go beyond the gender barrier. He is inspired by Kelly Brown’s photos of newborn babies, an Australian artist who brought newborn photography to the limelight almost two decades ago. During our brief encounter in the south-west of the city, at the Estadio Municipal de Balaìdos, home of Celta Vigo club, Diego talked of his love for children and about his deep devotion to his job. Not following anybody, just following my heart and passion, he added. After previous experiences decided to make newborn photography his career. Asked about revealing some secret, he said just one word laughing: babyshusher. Professionality and a huge love for children is Diego Gomez’s Photography. He recommends that couples expecting a new baby and wish to have a photo session of their newborn to book him at his studio well before the day of delivery. At least two months earlier is most ideal.
How did your career in photography start? And How long has it taken for you to make it to where you are today?
My personal story of this goes back 7 years ago. At home ,we´ve always liked photos, especially my mother. Thanks to her , we have fabulous memories of our wonderful childhood. After her death, my first réflex camera comes to me and when one begins to experiment with photography , inmediate results are expected ,but successs can be achieved only a few times. Finally, after much trial and error ,the first good photos came . I started to be interested in photography based on industrial buildings in abandoned brownfield sites, and continued to learn thanks to all the teaching materials available to us on the Internet. Thanks now to a good friend, who encouraged me to get into a popular website nightlife as a photographer of events and parties and consequently that allowed me to keep learning, travelling and meeting people with my same interests,.Today ,I consider them my friends. In order to start earning a living I started to work for a sports press agency and an organizer of events simultaneously, which allowed me to improve my photographic equipment and keep improving as a photographer in other fields. After many reports and hours editing, I discovered almost by chance, what today is called photography “newborn”, which is basically nothing other than taking photos of babies in their first 10 days of life, and surprisingly it was an absolute revelation,love at first sight, I really fell for it.
Presently, Newborn photography, is gender-based, especially dominated by women, obviously for natural reasons. Australia’s Kelly Brown, the most famous, and women like L.J. Holloway, Shelly Fergusson, Keri Meyers, Jennifer Blakeley, Alicia Poreda and so on lead in photography of new-borns. So you being a man, how do you feel with this female dominated activity?
I do not care and I do not think that being a man is a handicap in this world. The women’s competition is real, but sincerely this is something I have already accepted. Women are equal to us in many ways All that is needed is to put heart to what is done. In the end,the great thing is that the results ,you are male or female, eventually come along.
In Spain there are newborn artists like Le Photograph from Bilbao, Bea Pastor from Valencia or Mírame fotografía from Terrassa. Do you know each other?
Not really. They are on another level, which I hope to achieve one day. And it’s a pity not to know them. They are great professionals andI´m sure them I could learn from them a lot. I have only a couple of messages exchanged by the Facebook inbox with Dani from Mirame Fotografía. While it is true that on 21 and 22 November there is an International Congress of Child Photography in Madrid (Spain) to which I will attend and fortunately one of the speakers is Bea Pastor. Who knows if this will be the day when we exchange a few words.
This kind of photography has been a real boom in recent time, What motivates you in working with newborns and their parents?
Because just … I love it! I have always liked dealing with people.I tend to be an optimist by nature.I consider myself extremely sociable and a cheerful person I think I love children,I recently had a nephew that I adore so is there anything better than the mixture of two passions,photography and this cute baby? Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Having the opportunity to become the person in charge of immortalizing stories to last for ages is very rewarding. And the great satisfaction you feel when parents appreciate your work and choose you again to create their future memories. It’s really amazing.
Could you describe a whole typical shooting day? How does it works? How do you manage excited parents during your work?
It starts with the contact with the family, I always recommend not waiting until the last day to book, the ideal is to have a meeting with the family one or two months before giving birth. Where I explain a little my methodology and guidelines which is necessary for the proper conduct of the session. So once the baby is born ,we will have everything ready. In those pre-birth months, I prepare the sets which will be used the day of the session for photographs. It is quite accepted and proved that this type of photos can be made between four and ten days after birth. After twelve days they have their first crisis of growth, which will be repeated again in the future childhood. They are more irritable, sleep less, they start to exfoliate the skin and most importantly, lose much of the flexibility they enjoyed in the womb and that it is essential to adopt those seemingly impossible positions. Usually the sessions are in the morning, much quieter and usually last 4 or 5 hours, with breaks to feed, sleep and change diapers. At this point I discovered a tool that has helped me in my sessions, the babyshusher, a small device that plays the sound they heard in the womb, known as White Noise. Ideal to soothe the baby crying. That afternoon ,once the material is shown to the parents in the computer I give the possibility to choose through private gallery pictures they like. After the choice, I start the delicate task of beautifying every one of those snapshots that will be kept as a treasure the rest of their lifes.
What is important in this kind of photo shooting? In what are you pointing? Do you have your own newborne style?
The most important thing is that parents should be relax on the day of the session and not to cause anxiety to the baby ,they have been together nine months in the womb. This connection persists and it is real. An important fact to keep in mind is also the temperature of the photography studio.It should be well heated about 26 degrees, and babies´tummies should be pleasantly full. It´s really important to fall asleep so you can work comfortably. I have attended courses and workshops in which I learn day by day especially on security issues, such as handling the baby and position during the session. Regarding my style, I like the natural photography. It´s better to use less props and focus on the children, the most imprtant center of attention without distraction. It is also true that I always try to show a particular aspect, as a sign related to parent´s jobs or their hobbies. Parents´ friends usually love them a lot.They are really funny pictures. I normally combine natural light with flash light very blurred.In particular, I work with a Octobox 1.5 meters and 1.4 mounted on a 50mm full-frame and 90mm macro with which all the small details are caught .