I saw a photograph of a bird's nest, which was an advertisement for what I thought was a photographic exhibition at a small gallery in Sydney. When I arrived, it was a showing of real birds' nests. I was deeply moved by these little nests, their incredible beauty and fragility, and the mothering instinct at work -- the ingenuity and energy channeled into creating a safe place to conceal the young. Everything about them was just so nurturing. And I began to think about these miracles of nature that are concealed in a repeating pattern of secrete, store, burst forth in abundance -- seeds, bulbs, cocoons and the miracle of pregnancy.
When I saw the nests, everything began to flow again; everything came back. I felt inspired to start photographing again. I came out of the exhibit and phoned my husband, Kel, and said, "I need to do another book. I just saw these amazing nests." The whole "Beginnings" project started from there.
The creative intensity of the project pushed me into deeper and deeper territory, giving me something far richer than I could ever have anticipated. I sometimes had to change course within my vision. I think you have to be able to say, "Wait a minute, this is closer to what I wanted to say," and not be afraid to do that. The evolution of the project attracted me as an artist and was fulfilling in the sense that I became aware of being inspired to explore my vision in new forms.
I have been so totally humbled and touched by the level of trust people shared with me -- all the parents who shared their precious newborns and the pregnant women who came to my studio at a vulnerable time in their lives -- and the numbers of people who so want to be involved in the type of photography that I am pursuing, the art that I am creating. I found that very gratifying.
"Beginnings" has made me realize that it is OK for me to dedicate my life to photographing new life, babies and pregnant women; really, that is what my work is all about. This is my passion. I think it takes a sense of maturity as a person and as an artist to grow to understand one's artistry. I have been so inspired all year. I learned it is OK to photograph newborns, to be in awe of the whole process of pregnancy. It is an incredible, momentous, and precious time.
Anne Geddes, inspired by nature, has created a book of never-before-published images, "Beginnings." Accompanying the book is a documentary film, "Anne Geddes: Beginnings," available now as an HD digital download exclusively from the iTunes Store in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The film chronicles Anne's year-long journey to complete her book.