Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families who have experienced stillbirth or have children with serious or life threatening illness.
Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift in a caring and compassionate manner, with all services free of charge.
By Karen Anderson
As a photographer, I always feel well supported when going to a Heartfelt session with Social Worker, Deb de Wilde. Deb will already have spent a long time with the parents getting to know them and how they want to approach the birth of their baby. Deb will have an in-depth knowledge of the family wishes and the situation I will be facing going into the room.
Chloe had been stillborn, her parents had bathed and dressed her and when I arrived the parents were dressing her for the photographs, talking to her all the time.In this instance Deb talks gently with the parents about what we are going to do and helps with positioning the baby, and I photograph until I have enough photographs, or the parents decide that is enough.
In this photograph, the connection that Hanh has with baby Chloe was very obvious, taking in every inch of Chloe before having to eventually say goodbye.
In all my Heartfelt sessions it is impossible to be immune to the grief in the room, I always try my best to be compassionate and sensitive to when the parents would like to be on their own with their baby.This session was slightly unique in that the parents, Deb and I were going to be interviewed by ABC Radio National on the subject of Stillbirth.
Deb and I went with the interviewer after the session, to go through what we do and why we do what we do, in the face on unimaginable grief.
“The photos you sent are just beautiful. I cried as I viewed them because you depicted perfectly the beauty I see in my family everyday. No one has ever captured Bella's internal strength and innocence quite like you did."
"Beautiful precious moments with our babies, you capture forever – a gift to a stranger in their darkest moments. That IS HEARTFELT! "
"I appreciate what you do and all your volunteers, you have made my grieving process that little bit easier.
“We would like to express our gratitude for what Heartfelt did, and acknowledge the difficulty the photographers face to be there during such sad circumstances. We are truly grateful for your gift.”