14/08/2014 12:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Incredible Raw Photos Capture Moment Babies Take Their First Breaths After Birth


You might want to look away if you're munching a mince pie right now – but you'll be missing out on one of nature's greatest wonders if you do: the moment babies take their first breath of life, in all its raw, gory, unglamourised glory.

And they are both moving and quite beautiful, aren't they? It's amazing to think that we all started out like this.


These incredible photographs, taken before a mother had even seen her baby for the first time, show the reality of how we all look when we leave our mothers' bodies.

The graphic pictures are the work of respected Danish photographer Suste Bonnen who was given unprecedented access to mothers while they were having Caesarean sections.

Suste, 65, who has worked as a portrait photographer for 30 years, was given permission to take the shots at the Copenhagen University Hospital.

Now she has produced this stunning body of portraits of perhaps the most exposed moment in any person's life.


Suste said: "A life-long theme for my portrait photography has always been the affection and love displayed between a mother and daughter, a father and a son, a brother and a sister.

"I have portrayed heads of states, politicians, celebrities and CEOs, but family is what have always interested me the most.

"What suddenly intrigued me, however, was if that feeling of love for life was detectable at first eyesight. What are we emotionally like at the earliest stage in life? What are we like at the very first second?

"When the idea arose, I was therefore lucky to get exclusive and unprecedented access to the maternity ward, where I followed more than 22 caesarean operations."

In the working world of the hospital Suste still managed to get great pictures despite having just the surgery lights to shine on her subjects - no flash was allowed.

She said: "There were no flashes, no additional lamps, so I had to learn to use what was there.

"I admit that the images are deeply controversial, as they on one side are very bloody and gory, but on the other a rare and truthful testimony to the magical wonder of life.

"These are all caesarean operations, so they can't help but being bloody."