Hi, I am Lisanne Vreeke
That’s a Dutch name, for those who were wondering! I grew up in the southern part of the Netherlands, and that is where I started to explore photography, initially as a hobby I loved in my free time, but it quickly became much more than that. I have a background in design and I as a visual person am always observing and reflecting on the world around me, whether it’s interesting architecture, beautifully designed clothes or striking landscape. Photography is my way of documenting and creating new versions of scenes that move me. Moving to Basel in 2015 provided me with the opportunity to further develop my photography skills.
This is how I started photographing births
During a photography course I needed to create a photo reportage and while scouting for an angle, my neighbor asked me to photograph her childbirth. I wasn’t immediately sold, as I have never been a blood and needle person. I did think, however, that there was potential for me to create something of great beauty by documenting new life.
I decided to go for it and once the birth started I knew that was the right decision. I witnessed nature in full force and I was so impressed by the focus and strength of the mother during labor. It felt as if the oxytocin was also flying through my veins and I was relieved of all my previous fears. When the little girl was born I quickly wiped my tears and focused on photographing the newborn. I loved every minute of it.
This is why I love what I do
On 22 March 2017 I became a mother myself. Funny enough, I was initially hesitant to invite a birth photographer to the birth. For me, giving birth seemed like an incredibly personal experience and I also doubted whether I wanted to have pictures of me in pain. After careful consideration with my husband we asked a friend who is a photographer to document the birth of our daughter and I am so extraordinarily happy and thankful that we did.
Naturally, there are images of me suffering, but when seeing them I only feel pride in my journey. Being able to relive those first moments, our tears of joy and our great happiness through the photos is priceless. The images have also helped me in processing the birth. Large parts, which I felt that I missed, are filled in, and my husband can describe his experience of the same moments while we are looking at the photographs of our daughter’s birth. They have become an important part of my post birth healing and make me reflect on the experience with warmth and affection.
So why me?
I have personally experienced the value of birth photography and am motivated to share this positive and powerful tool. I have sensed how important the photographers approach is during the birth. This is significant for the new parents but also for the hospital staff, for whom this may be their first encounter with birth photography. My personality makes me very well suited for this. I have a calm demeanor and I know how to make myself invisible when needed. I am sensitive to other people’s feelings and needs and I think that enables me to really capture the atmosphere in my photos. Lastly, I speak Dutch, English and German. English I use mostly with clients, but the German comes in very useful when communicating with hospital staff!