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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“9 months + 3 days”

Ihor and Nina Haidai share their quiet happiness
3 June, 2008 - 00:00

Every woman dreams of becoming a happy mother. When this miracle occurs every mother wants to remember forever the first days of her child. This dream came true for several dozen women in Ukraine and Austria who took part in a project organized by the Ukrainian photographer Ihor Haidai. Infants aged between three and 72 hours are the main characters of his pictures. Also their mothers. A display of these photos, entitled “9 Months + 3 Days,” has been launched at the Ukrainian Home. It will last until June 8 and will then travel to other cities in Ukraine, also to Vienna and Innsbruck.

The Ukrainian Home’s exhibit displays 70 large black and white photographs with infants. There are actually much more such pictures. According to the project’s author, Ihor Haidai, every shooting session lasted an hour at the most, considering that infants pose for the camera in their own special way, also that the presence a photographer with his equipment was cumbersome in a maternity hospital.

“I’d thought that taking pictures of infants would be difficult, I mean catching their postures, training the bright light on them. In reality they turned out the best ‘models’ ever to be found, for they behaved naturally. After the shooting session every mother received photos with her baby as a present, for each was so eager to capture this moment,” says Haidai.

He conceived the nine-months- plus-three-days project’s idea when on a trip to Austria. At some moment the photographer realized that human life had to be cognized from the outset, childbirth. He took his first pictures in an Austrian clinic and later Ukrainian women joined the project. There were many eager to have pictures taken of their babies, so the photographer reduced the number to 25 on both the Austrian and Ukrainian side to keep the project on a reasonable scale.

This project took three years. Over the years the photographer realized that his pictures were captured moments of quiet happiness, also an opportunity for women to once again experience the joy of motherhood... Art critic Oleksii Tytarenko believes that these photos are proof that a creative personality does not have to invent anything to reveal his talent, just take a good look around and see little simple things that are in reality the main things for every human being.

“Some photographers believe that more special effects they use, the better their pictures,” says Oleksii Tytarenko, “but in actuality it’s the other way around. You don’t have to keep inventing things the way 20th century artists did; you should portray something everyone will find thrilled to see. Children, infants. Their images bring tears to people’s eyes even when they look happy in the photos. Here lies the inimitable brilliance of these images.”

Iryna Petryshyn, one of the project participants from Kyiv, admitted that she had volunteered once she heard about the project. Her daughter Darynka was only several days old, now she is 14 months. Her photos are all over the walls of the Petryshyns’ apartment. Iryna says the daughter can already recognize herself in the pictures, but it will be some time before she can duly appreciate these pictures.

In conclusion of the project the photographer plans to publish a photo album entitled 9 Months + 3 Days . It will include photos of 45 families as the “co-authors,” infants with their happy moms and dads.