Doula and Birth, Newborn, Baby, and Maternity photography based in Springfield/Ozark/Nixa/Branson, MO. Natural childbirth, VBAC, medicated births. Birth support professional for Home birth, birth center, and hospital birth.
Springfield-Branson Doula and Birth, Newborn, Baby, Maternity Photography by Rebecca Block
Pure Captures is a professional photography studio based in Ozark, MO, serving Springfield MO, Branson MO, & the rest of the southwest Missouri area. Professional Doula and Photographer Rebecca Block captures birth photography & newborn, baby, & maternity portraits in homes, hospitals, and birth centers.
My portrait photography is a mix of photojournalistic/lifestyle type mixed with some "posed" portraits, using mostly natural, available light. I aim to catch not only your outer beauty but your true inner beauty as well....your personality...your emotions. I specialize in storytelling images of anything baby or pregnancy-related, taking the images & turning them into a piece of artwork for your home.
I am really laid-back, as you can probably tell from my work. I love to have fun with you and make you comfortable, and I hope that you have a great time as I capture the personalities of you and your family!
A little about the artist…
If you're wondering a little bit about me, I grew up around the St. Louis area and moved to Springfield to attend college. I majored in art education and took a black and white photography film class. (That's right, film - who does that anymore, right??) I've always loved taking pictures, but that class taught me so much more about light, value, contrast, and (of course) cameras. After dropping my digital point-and-shoot in a lake (long story involving a beloved fish named Kirby), I spent a ridiculous amount of money on film and developing until getting a DSLR a few years later. I decided not to become a school teacher after graduating, and that was when this Pure Captures Photography was born.
Our son, Patrick, was born at home in September, 2009. He was my inspiration for getting into all things babies & birth! After shooting several births, I found myself wanting to do more to help moms through labor. In 2011 I attended formal training to become a doula, and completed my certification at the end of 2012. Since then, I have been combining birth photography and doula work. I love both, but feel like being a doula is my calling, and my photography is a creative expression of that calling in my life.
In my free time, I like to do outdoor activities with my family, like garden, camp, and hike. We enjoy traveling to new places and trying new restaurants. (I also really like to cook!) Mixed media painting and sewing top my list of creative things I like to do (after photography of course).
I entered this image in a breastfeeding photo competition held during World Breastfeeding Week. The contest was sponsored by Birth Becomes Her, a lovely, supportive network and website for birth photographers. (Here also is their Facebook page to follow for more incredible birth and breastfeeding images from around the world!) Thanks to so many supportive friends and family who voted for it, I made it into the Top 15! From here, it will be judged by a panel of judges who will select the top three winners – the first place winner receiving a free ticket to Birth Becomes Her workshop in Denver for birth photographers. It would be an incredible opportunity to attend and help hone my skills for my clients. I really want to be able to provide them with the most insanely gorgeous images possible from their births and portrait sessions. I have areas I’d like to improve in, and this looks like the perfect workshop for that.
Truth be told, I’ll probably register for the workshop anyway, but since I may be traveling to Cotes-de-fer, Haiti, again at the end of the year, I’d like to save some money and just win a ticket. 😉 I haven’t completely decided whether I should go on that Haiti trip or if my place is here at home to work on fundraising for the Haitian medical staff/medical supplies and prepping the team that does go. But I will keep you all updated for sure.
I’m so thankful for every single person’s vote on this image, no matter what the final results are! And I’m thankful to God for showing me this opportunity that came up and giving me the confidence and motivation to actually submit an art piece to a competition.
The judges will be critiquing on three criteria: Technical, Creative, and Emotional Impact. I selected this image because I thought it fit those criteria the best, out of all the images I have. I am drawn to dynamic images where the subjects are “doing something” – whether that is a curious babe about to yank mom’s hair off, a toddler reaching to caress her mother’s face, or a dad in mid-reach as he is about to hold his brand-spankin-new daughter in his arms. Those types of images give me a wonderful feeling of anticipation as I wonder what is about to happen next!
The point of this competition was to help “normalize breastfeeding,” a term which some of you reading this have probably seen used around more and more. As someone who is pursuing her goal to eventually become an IBCLC (a lactation counselor that can help with complex feeding problems), that is an idea I can definitely get behind. Health is an important topic to me, and so much of good health begins before and at birth. Breastfeeding offers protective benefits to babies’ guts, setting them up for a healthier future and a VASTLY decreased risk of getting seriously ill or dying. This is true of any country, but especially in developing nations like Haiti, Indian, Phillippines, Sudan, etc.
“Fresh baby with little hands already trying to hold his!”
I so very, very much want feeding at the breast to be considered the normal thing for a mother to do in order to feed her baby. I want people to think it’s so normal to breastfeed a baby that the “breast” gets dropped from the “breastfeeding” because it’s not even necessary to clarify what method. I want people to let a mother be when feeding her baby, no matter how she goes about doing that. I want people to stop thinking it’s gross or disgusting. I want people to stop thinking it’s a sexual thing. I want moms to be able to have ACCURATE, UP-TO-DATE, EASY-TO-ACCESS information to help them be successful in any medical issues that may arise during feeding. I want ALL of that to be normal.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that you can’t change people’s minds by shocking them. In fact, the goal of changing people’s minds often backfires and they have knee-jerk reactions that are the complete opposite of what well-intentioned folks wanted. But…..if you can drop little bits of information here and there….and you can make yourself willing to talk with them like a calm human being who is not easily offended just because you have differing opinions….you can change minds a lot easier this way. So that is why I selected that first image for the competition. Yes, it shows an inch of skin on the chest, which is probably shocking to some of my friends or family. But it’s not a completely naked image of a woman nursing her baby, and neither are any of the other images in this blog post. Those types of images do have artistic merit in themselves, and if a client wanted them, I would take them for her (I do love breastfeeding portraits that also show mom’s stretch marks or c-section scars!) But when it comes to “normalizing breastfeeding,” I want to do it in a way that doesn’t shock people. An inch of skin, in my opinion, gently walks that line and prods people to think without causing a knee-jerk reaction and increasing negative opinions about breastfeeding.
“My second baby. Image Credit: Jenica Christensen”
I see many people on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to breastfeeding (and the art inspired by it). One end says “Breastfeeding is all-natural and not sexual at all! Whip that boob out in front of people so they can realize this too! BE OFFENDED if someone tells you to cover up!” And the other says, “That is a disgusting bodily fluid just like peeing or pooping! [and/or] That is too sexual and needs to be covered up!” From a Christian worldview, I see in the Bible that God created breasts to have a dual purpose. The smokin’ hot Song of Solomon shows they can be of great enjoyment for a woman’s husband….and then there are so many stories also refer to breasts bringing nourishment and comfort to the little babies that came as a result of that enjoyment. 😉
I think it’s extremely fascinating to see how God designed our bodies to do this. Every time new research comes out about breast milk, I am again in awe of the God who created it all, and I wonder what else He did with breast milk that we humans haven’t discovered yet! I breastfeed because it simply seems to be the thing to do with a baby/toddler. To me, breastfeeding is largely a science thing. It is just normal. I don’t get overly emotional about the “special bond” that some women feel, or the sadness about weaning them. That’s totally fine if you do, though! It’s a very common emotion that mothers experience…it’s just not something I do a whole lot. Perhaps that is why I love to photograph that bond! Through my art, I can express those general concepts of motherly emotions about breastfeeding instead. Weird, huh? But it works. 🙂
“Self-Portrait with my first nurser”
In Haiti, women don’t use covers because it is too hot for that business. I saw moms whipping baby feeders out the tops of their shirts while standing right next to men, and nobody batted an eye. Why? Because breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby and breasts are not sexual in the context of feeding. Like I said earlier, health is an important subject to me, and breastfeeding is a health issue – no matter what country you live in. It is not a sexual issue, despite what folks on that one end of the spectrum say. Those folks also have the ability and responsibility to control their own thoughts. So don’t blame breastfeeding women for trying to cause lust in men – that statement is a bunch of bull poop. (Just like statements that essentially say “It’s her fault she got raped because she wore that dress/she went to that club/she walked on the street at night.” All of those are victim-blaming, and completely takes the responsibility off the man who committed the action.)
“Nursing under the Spanish Moss”
You can make your own opinions on breastfeeding change by taking the time to think about why you are having the reactions you are, and seeing real-life breastfeeding in its many forms. The images here are just some of the ways baby feeding happens in real life. Many of them were just pauses during newborn and baby photo sessions, where baby was fussy and needed something to calm down. Babies’ bodies release endorphins when they are sucking on something, which is how breastfeeding helps soothe a fussy babe so quickly, often even putting him to sleep!
“Those days when your baby’s head is smaller than the breast that feeds her!”
All that said…I also don’t care how you breastfeed your babies. Use a cover if you don’t want to show skin. Or don’t use a cover if it causes you a huge hassle and makes for an impatient screaming baby who is even more difficult to latch on. Pump and feed with a bottle in public if that’s easier because you’re a new mom who needs to use all her hands to manage both baby and breast. Or don’t pump at home and feed a bottle in public because that’s an even bigger hassle to you than just accidentally showing some skin for two seconds while your baby latches on. Whatever. I want women to do whatever works for them the easiest way so they can nourish their babies and help them be the healthiest children they can be…so those kids can go on to LIVE, bring blessings and joy to their parents, and grow up to do great things for the world!
“Feeding pumped milk while out and about”
“He still kicks me there. Image Credit: Jenica Christensen”
This sweet, happy thing has been in our lives for two years now! Here is his reaction to being sung “Happy Birthday” in the middle of his photo shoot. Now he wants to keep watching this video over and over on my computer…. 🙂
While we were down in Mississippi, I got the chance to shoot this fun photographer’s family. I love how energetic her little man was…it takes me back to my older son’s three-and-four year old days and reminds me of what I’ve got coming up again with my toddler! 😀
Thanks for letting me play around a little with you guys, Lindsay! I hope you enjoy these on your wall!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the families who have allowed me to be a part of adding new additions to their homes!
This is little Eleanor, whose momma had a lovely and fairly quick home birth, especially compared to her first! Ashley’s girls are just darling & her home is beautifully decorated…check out the nursery shot!
While we were in Mississippi, a beautiful momma named Lacey modeled for me under some of the most amazing Spanish-Moss covered live oaks. We planned her session from start to finish with a meeting to look at clothing and meet her baby, Tristan. She told me a little about her breastfeeding journey so I could work them into some informational & encouraging articles on my doula website (which was originally why I wanted a breastfeeding model). I think my favorite is the last one where baby Tristan is playing with her hair. It reminds me of when my babies were that age and obsessed with my hair while nursing. <3