Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson spent over a decade documenting “the drama of life before birth”, through a series of captured images in-utero.
The result is a breathtaking colour essay on life’s phenomenon – in all its beautiful, mind-blowing complexity.
Using macro lenses, endoscopes and scanning electron microscope technology, Nilsson photographed the stages of human reproduction, from conception to just before birth, in an unprecedented level of detail.
At a magnification of hundreds of thousands, we are made privy to an entire world within the womb; and when viewed up close, the early moments of development, starkly suspended in blackness, create the distinct impression that one is observing, not the genesis of a child, but an extraterrestrial being on some captivating, distant planet.
The photographer pioneer’s work is both otherworldly, and an attestation that nature itself is an artistic expression.
And what were once mere playful kicks and nudges against a rounded belly take on a profound significance when one considers the magnitude of events playing out just below the surface.
The immediate response to these vivid foetal portraits is not a greater scientific understanding, but rather, an awe for the sheer miracle inside the maternal microcosm.
*Nilsson’s remarkable pictures have been collected in a large hardcover book, A Child Is Born, available from Amazon.co.uk ( A Child is Born ) *