My wife, dog, and myself before heading to the hospital
Photos & Projects

Making a Book of Memories – Photographing my Son’s Birth – By Dwight Daly

April 10, 2021

The joy of being a parent is something that no one can really explain, but only experience. From its high points to its lows, there is always something new to learn and cherish about this new season of Life. Long since before finding out I was going to be a father; I knew that I wanted to make a book of images to remember the day of my child’s birth. A book of Memories.

Micah Elliott Daly

Preparation

I wanted to make sure that being present was the highest priority on my list, so I planned out what items I would be bringing months ahead of time. I wrote in my fieldnotes every item that I would be bringing and a note that said, “Be precise and choose photos wisely”.

My list of items included two cameras (Canon A1 and Canon F1), two lenses (50mm f1.8 Canon FD, and 28mm f2.8 Vivitar), and the film I wanted to shoot.

I shot Ilford HP5+ pushed to ISO 1600 and Lomography 800 at box speed. Both cameras and lenses are FD mount, so it allowed me to choose focal lengths whether I was shooting color or black & white. I brought eight rolls of film to shoot; I felt that having a large number of photos to choose from would help me when it came time to select images for my book.

My camera & Notes

My field notes

The Experience

My camera bag had been packed for days when it was time for us to go to the hospital; me, my wife, and our dog decided to take one last photo together before the baby arrived.

My wife, dog, and myself before heading to the hospital

Our hospital room was full of family as we waited 27 hours for our baby to enter this world. The hospital rooms were dimly lit, so shooting wide open was a must. In addition to making photos, I wrote down important and funny details about our time in the hospital. I didn’t include these writings in the book, but it is nice to look back at them in addition to having a photobook.

Nurses trying to get fetal heartbeat monitor to work

Mothers waiting patiently for their first grandchild

My Father in-law waiting his grandson to come

My wife trying to get some rest before the baby comes

My mother taking a nap

The clock on the wall as we waited hours in labor

During labor my wife had some complications and had to go for an emergency C-section; this is when being present really counts. At this point, I stopped taking photos until after our son was safely delivered and my wife was out of surgery. Overall, we spent five long days in the hospital before we headed home with our baby boy. After about a month of adjusting to fatherhood, I decided it was time to start working on the book.

Me and Micah

My wife & son

My mother holding her grandson

My mother in-law handing Micah to her father

My In-laws after my son, Micah was born

The Book

I developed my color film with Cinestill CS41 developing kit, my black & white film with Cinestill Df96 monobath, and scanned it with an Epson V500. I then sorted through all the photos that I thought were good and made my way to Printique (FKA Adorama pix) to start making my layout.

I was originally going to use Adobe InDesign for the layout, but Adorama has good user interface that lets you select the book size, style, and layout.

The book

This was a fun personal project to task myself with and I hope my experience was helpful for those who plan to do the same.

You can follow my work here:

My Instagram account: @Texanaxet

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Ralph Turner
    April 10, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Ah, the joys of parenthood. As a young man I hadn’t planned on having kids but, as I got a little older and got married, my feelings changed. Reading your great article brought back fond memories of my two boys and being there for both their births and their early years (they’re both grown men now). We weren’t as well planned as you’ve been regarding photos, though we did manage one or two at their arrivals and the number of snaps ramped up quickly thereafter 🙂. One thing that was often said to us back then was “make the most of these years, they soon fly by”. It’s funny how the fullest sense of those words doesn’t come until later. All the best to you for a long and happy family life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Rock
    April 10, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Congratulations on the birth of Micah. Nice to see someone sharing personal thoughts and photos. I love the hospital shots. I will check out your Instagram. Cheers, Rock

  • Reply
    Matt Lehman
    April 10, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Excelllent documentarion photography. Congratulations!

  • Reply
    Bob Janes
    April 10, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Lovely story.
    I remember the birth of my eldest as a time with the highest highs and the lowest lows. I don’t think I had any concept of worry before I was a parent.
    Then it took me a few years to recognize that my parents were just as worried about me when I was that age – and then a few more to work out that you don’t stop worrying about your kids when they grow up.

  • Reply
    Graham Spinks
    April 10, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    There is so much to love about this post. Wonderful portraits of your family at this crucial moment. Brilliant that you chose to use film (and also how you used it). Great to see your notes and your thinking processes. Truly evocative and heartwarming. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    DeeDee Yelverton
    April 10, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    These are great photos that tell a wonderful story! (Also, congratulations!) Thank you for sharing the photos, how you developed the film and which place you used to make and order your book. I enjoyed your post! Well done on this book with precious memories for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Omer
    April 10, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Nicely done. The family members images are great. The image of the nurses with your wife is good as well.

    The first Canon F-1, one of the ‘hockey pucks’ of its time. My all time favorite camera.

  • Reply
    Billy Sanford
    April 11, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    First, congratulations! Second, thank you for sharing the story. That is an awesome project and your family will cherish those memories forever. Really inspiring!

  • Reply
    BW
    April 18, 2021 at 12:41 am

    Congrats! Impressive planning and a great result!

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