CESAR – First seconds on earth
The CESAR series started in 2013. It is the artistic follow-up to a photographic report about the work of the obstetrician in the operating theater.
CESAR is about children’s portraits. They were all born by caesarean section and are all only a few seconds old. They all survived.
This project was born from a real event: the birth of my first child!
It was an emergency caesarean section and the operation was to save him, and his mother.
When I saw him for the first time, he was covered in blood and a white substance called vernix.
He was like a warrior who has just won his first battle, like an angel out of darkness. What a joy to hear him scream. It was life, and I had the opportunity to photograph it at its beginning.
"Some appear quite calm, others scream and gesticulate, and some do not yet seem to belong to the world of the living."
A cesarean birth takes place in the operating theatre where it all begins with an incision. From the time the child is torn from the womb to when he is taken for his first care, not more than a minute goes by. In this short space of time, anything is possible! It’s a unique moment, decisive and magical! For me, this instance is portrayed in this second, this hundredth of a second in photographical trems, where the child, this primitive human being, not yet a “baby”, expresses itself for the first time. Some appear quite calm, others scream and gesticulate, and some do not yet seem to belong to the world of the living. But one thing is certain: they have all made it to the end of this first step.
Far from portraying platitudes and banality, my aim is to convey ourselves as we are when we are born. And whether it be a cesarean delivery or a natural birth, everyone is born naked, in tears, in blood and in other body fluids.
All these photographs are for me, the first representation of a new human being, during its first second on earth.
By Christian Berthelot