These tiny Christmas hats marked a happier reason for bringing my camera to Christchurch Women’s Hospital this week. I joined two other Christchurch based Heartfelt photographers to capture “first Christmas” images of babies and their families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). From teeny tiny fighters at only 24 weeks gestation to babies who were almost ready to go home, everyone was in the Christmas spirit and dressed for the occasion.
As a photographer for Heartfelt I create very special portraits for families who have lost a baby, born too early to survive, or families with babies and children in end of life care. These images bring comfort over the difficult time to come, and are cherished as some of the only memories of these much loved children that can ever be captured.
Heartfelt is a charity that runs across New Zealand and Australia and many photographers donate their time and skills to families in need.
Families are referred by their midwives or medical team and receive a collection of digital and printed images. There is no charge to families receiving this gift of memories.
I am very proud to be a photographer for Heartfelt and able to provide some help and support to these families. I consider myself so fortunate to have two happy and healthy children and for me this provides a way that I can give thanks for this gift.
Sadly, Christmas will not be happy for everyone this year, so as you celebrate with your family, spare a thought for those experiencing or remembering the loss of a child.
Over the last 9 years Heartfelt volunteer photographers have provided photographs to over 10,000 families (5 years in NZ). So far this year 340 Heartfelt volunteer photographers have provided over 1,700 free photography sessions across Australia and New Zealand.
If you know a family in need of Heartfelt’s services, you can make a referral to Heartfelt here: https://www.heartfelt.org.au/contact_us_newzealand
Each session costs $75 to deliver, so this Christmas I invite you to make a donation to cover the cost of one of next year's sessions. You can support Heartfelt here: https://www.heartfelt.org.au/donate-to-heartfelt
If you are a photographer (professional or a skilled amateur) who would like to offer your time to Heartfelt you can learn more here: https://www.heartfelt.org.au/join_us