Caesar


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It is a common misconception that the caesarian section is named after Julius Caesar. Actually, they share a common root: caedre, or 'to cut'. Yet in this series by Christian Berthelot (1976, France) the link is made to associate these small delicate babies with the strength and power of the old ruler, through that common cut. Talking about his first child who was born by caesarian section, Berthelot likens his son's entrance into the world to that of a bloodied warrior winning his first battle: His first fight was to be able to survive.

The children in these images are mere seconds old, bloodied and covered in various viscera, but they each display different personalities already. Some cry while others are silent, and others have their hands sprayed wide in greeting, or curled into contemplative balls.

Perhaps what is most shocking with these images is not the subject matter but the access that Berthelot managed to arrange to these life events. He says in interviews that he formed bonds of trust with the obstetricians and midwives after his son was born, which allowed him that primary access, but he says little about meeting the family, nor about trust they had for him to be at such a private occasion. The photos themselves also exclude any hint of family, only allowing the latex gloved hands of the surgeons to enter the frame with the babies.


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