Birth photo garners international acclaim

Chemainus birth photographer Ashley Marston honoured for photograph captured during labour

  • Mar. 17, 2015 12:00 p.m.

A Chemainus photographer continues to attract acclaim with her ability to capture perhaps life’s most important moments.

Ashley Marston, of, recently received a top-five finish in the International Birth Photography Associations, Image of the Year Competition.

Marston’s award-winning image of a Cowichan Valley woman lying in a birthing pool — during a home labour attended by midwives from Duncan’s Matraea Centre — made her the first Canadian ever to crack the annual competition’s top five.

The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers chooses its winners on a point system judged on technicality, emotionality and composition.

Marston is part of an emerging trend in photography where young parents are bringing in professionals to capture the unforgettable moments when a mother gives birth and a baby takes its first breath.

A mother of three, Marston got into photography about six years ago and was introduced to the idea of birth photography through a link she followed to an article in the New York Times.

“I call that moment my ‘Oprah ah ha’ moment,” Marston told the Cowichan News Leader in a 2013 interview. “I loved the idea of telling a story. And what better story to tell than the day a family welcomes a beautiful baby into the world.”

“Birth photography does so much more than create individual images; it tells a beautiful story of families being created and falling in love,” said directory co-founder and Vancouver birth photographer Morag Hastings.

“Professional birth photographers tell these stories in a way that parents can look back on with amazement and wonder as they remember the day of their baby’s birth.”

Marston couldn’t agree more.

“Your child will not only see its tiny self, but the way their parents worked together, the love that was in the room, the uninhibited joy on mom’s face the first time meeting them, and the first time they opened their eyes and looked right into yours.”