In 2019 The Guardian published an article about a photograph called “Foetus 18 Weeks” taken in 1965 by Swedish photojournalist Lennart Nilsson. This amazing image of unborn baby was first published on the cover of April 1965 edition of Life magazine. Title of article was “Drama of Life Before Birth.” That April edition of Life became the “fastest-selling copy” of the magazine in the history of its publication.
According to The Guardian report the picture was “in full colour and crystal clear detail, the picture showed a foetus in its amniotic sac, with its umbilical cord winding off to the placenta. The unborn child, floating in a seemingly cosmic backdrop, appears vulnerable yet serene. Its eyes are closed and its tiny, perfectly formed fists are clutched to its chest.”
Since the mid-1950s Nilsson was experimenting with new photographic techniques, using microscopes to make extreme closed photographs. Visiting New York in 1954 , Nilsson told Life editors about his plans to capture the beginnings of human existence, but was looked with a degree of skepticism. A decade later and at the times when the abortion was beginning to be debated, “Nilsson was only able to photograph one living foetus, though, using an endoscopic camera that traveled into a womb. This picture was included in Life and is distinct from the others – being taken inside the uterus means it can’t capture the foetus in its entirety,” the report said.
We need to understand that , at that time, ultrasound technology was just being introduced for clinical purposes only. Recording an unborn child’s development through images was only available in hospitals in 1970’s.
In an interview published by PBS, Nilsson explained how he obtained photographs of living fetuses during medical procedures. Describing a shoot that took place during a surgical procedure in Göteborg, Lennart Nilsson stated, “The fetus was moving, not really sucking its thumb, but it was moving and you could see everything—heartbeats and umbilical cord and so on. It was extremely beautiful, really beautiful!”
Acording to Wikipedia, in 1965, Lennart Nilsson published his pictures, being part of the book A Child Is Born. His pictures have documented the beginning of life : the egg travelling down the fallopian tube; the sperm racing to meet it; the moment of fertilisation; the very first cell division; the tiny embryo attaching to the uterine wall; the growth of eyes, ears, fingers and toes; and finally the moment of delivery itself – providing an astonishing glimpse of the first moments of life. The book was translated in more than twenty languages.
Amazing Image of Unborn Baby
Although Nilsson didn’t wanted his photos to be political, his photos have been used by pro life movements as advertising material.