Since her daughter was born, Angela Gallo has come to view childbirth as a transformational process. So much so that, soon after, Gallo became a doula and birth photographer in hopes of helping women experience this transformation as fully as she did.
"Prior to my daughter's birth, I lived one life, I was one person," Gallo told Refinery29. "After her birth, I shed that life. I said goodbye to that person, and I have yet to look back."
Gallo had previously studied underwater videography and documentary in Thailand, and the skills she learned no doubt come in handy in her current ventures — she often photographs water births. As a doula, Gallo makes herself as available as possible to the mothers she works with, as she's well aware that childbirth can be "unpredictable." So her goal is to be supportive and vocal, and fill any need mothers may have.
"It can be a hand to hold, eyes to lock gaze with, tough love, gentle reminders to move to another position or eat something sweet," she said. "I am there to serve her in whatever capacity she needs."
When it comes to her work as both a birth photographer and doula, Gallo is on call 24/7 and never knows how long she'll be on a job — it could be one hour or 30. But she said it's 100% worth it.
"Seeing these women dig deep within themselves, visit — and expand — their emotional or physical boundaries; watching partners or siblings set eyes on their babies for the first time; and then capturing that vulnerability, that excitement, that power, in a few images is magic," she said.
But don't just take Gallo's word for it. Click through to view a selection of her birth photos (some of which are graphic in nature), and see the "magic" of childbirth for yourself.