Emma Jean Nolan, a photographer, has clicked a very powerful image of a newborn baby lying on a bed with his umbilical cord and placenta still attached to him. What catches the viewer’s attention the most is the word ‘love’ written with the cord, spiralled to form the letters.
Nolan posted the photo on her Facebook page where she has also revealed details about the baby. Harper, the baby, was photographed just an hour and a half after he was born on January 2.
The photo was captioned “Welcome earthside sweet little Harper” and went on to explain the Maori traditions of New Zealand wherein the placenta and the umbilical cord is buried in the land.
“As a Maori baby his placenta will now be returned to the land,” read the caption. The placenta will be buried under a tree at the baby’s grandfather’s farm.
“The word ‘whenua’ relates to the placenta and to the land. Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) -- the link between the newborn and papatuanuku (mother earth).
“With this affinity established, each individual fulfils the role of curator, for papatuanuku (mother earth), which remains life long.”
Nolan told Stuff that she took the photograph as a surprise for Harper’s parents while the mother, Jolene, was taking a shower. “I set it up while she was showering and sent it to her later that day,” Nolan said.
She also spoke about handling the mixed reactions that she has got for the photograph.
“There will always be people who will be shocked or ‘disgusted’ by the sight of the placenta, and that is ok,” she said.
“But many people can see the beauty in the image of the connection to life. The placenta may not be beautiful in appearance but it is beautiful in its existence and its work. We all owe our life to a placenta.”