edite haberman – it’s a girl

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Edite Haberman

It’s a Girl

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The visual story of a childless woman.

“It’s a Girl” started as a simple exercise and transformed itself into a potent self exploration through visual expressions of longing and loss. It is a conceptual story of childhood, motherhood, and the absence of children – a tragedy of the thwarted wish for children and the loss that this can signify.

There’s no lesson, there’s no cry; just an attempt for the need to express what no medium can, what no words or time could ever color, what no dreams or images could ever realize.

The indoor images were shot between bed sheets and bedspreads much like children in bed. The outdoor images were shot either on strollers or children’s playgrounds. Vintage doll heads sit on swings and slides that are not fully revealed – swinging, sliding, falling and playing as if they were children.

Being childless is a condition that society does not understand, nor has been able so far to accept. Being childless when one does not want to be, is an emptiness that cannot be explained. I am attempting to explain it through my images.



After studying architecture in Buenos Aires, Edite immigrated to the US where she received a degree in graphic design. She went to work for international advertising agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco as an art director. Later she studied and graduated in film and directed and produced short as well as video and TV campaigns. After purchasing a DSLR camera a few years ago for an European trip, she went to study with some of the world’s finest photographers. “Photography for me is the culmination of all my experiences in architecture, design, film and art direction. It all comes together and this is where my passion is”.

Edite has been exhibiting her fine art and documentary photography in galleries and juried shows in the US and in Europe. Her project “It’s a Girl” won a honorable mention in 2011 from the International Photography Awards and an official selection from IPA in 2009. It also won a spotlight award from Color Magazine in 2011 and it’s been featured at OpenShow in 2012. Images from “It’s a Girl” have been exhibited in different galleries in California as well as in Europe. She has been the recipient of multiple awards for her other projects in documentary photography.

Edite is currently working on a book of “It’s a Girl” and has started the second part of this project – a documentary project that will follow this conceptual work. Her vision is to bring awareness at a national and international level about the stigma of involuntary childlessness. Her mission: to interview and portray women from different parts of the world who have experienced similar heartbreak with infertility and are living with it. She will document their stories and experiences – and through her images, Edite expects to put a face on a condition that still remains largely hidden and shameful.

Edite also works as a portrait and lifestyle photographer for private, editorial and corporate clients.


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Edite Haberman


97 Responses to “edite haberman – it’s a girl”

  • Not that Jim gains attention it becomes his essay…….

  • unresolved beta style essays reign supreme on Burn

  • I wish a man to be brave enough to express their impotence ..
    Be it effectively or less so..

    Good luck edite.. As with many here, I’ve friends unable to bear children and can well see where words fail them..

  • David really helpful comment, especially regarding cashew nuts,

    I’m not questioning the emotion which, I think is one I have felt myself. What I struggle with is the use of pictures in this essay to try and represent those feelings.

    Panos, not everything is cliché, whilst almost everything has been done in one way or another, the use of over used symbols in photography without using them in a new or meaningful way should be avoided.

    In my earlier response I tried to avoid criticising the actual pictures, I had wanted to try and convey my upset that a very difficult topic should be addressed using such over used and trite pictures. The pictures used, as another person in these comments has said, could be applied to other child issues, such as abuse.

    The emotion and feelings I can sympathise with from the artist statements, but not the pictures. Whilst Jim’s comments are blunt, I feel they are reasonable.

    In other genres (such as short story) the use of dolls as an easy to use symbol has been been equally criticised.

    There are certain over used tropes in pictures and writing that have been used, of which dolls are one, that are over used, and I feel this essay over uses them.

  • And so the essay does fail in it’s intentions.. In the form it stands it says nothing of a specific anguish, nor pays that anguish tribute enough for the pain it must cause..

    A case of showing work early? Of rushing to print? Or wanting to become accustomed to others dissecting our most personal aspects that greater work can grow..

    What’s not in the photos is in the text.. Beginnings..
    BURN must have room for that.. It’s where it began..

    Enough from this ego for one night.. Good luck edite.

  • “Being childless is a condition that society does not understand, nor has been able so far to accept” …….. Not sure what rock you are hiding under but with a 10% Gay population, all those that have chosen not to have children and the barren the numbers are quite significant………… maybe some may not understand but it is all quite acceptable in our 21st century society.

  • BURN must have room for that.. It’s where it began……. sure but without an end in sight it is all a bit like walking into a half baked exhibition where the artists says I didn’t have time to finish what I wanted to do but this is good enough. It also makes it easy for the creator to dodge any critique as being meaningful.

  • No stress Peter, i got your point:)
    big hug

  • Knowing Edite personally I have a differen take than some of the first responders.

    When I first saw some of the doll heads by themselves I thought they were weird. Later when Edite shared her story and the rest of them I was moved to tears. In fact, when they were shown at presentation by Edite it was pretty overwhelming for me.

    For someone to share her pain like Edite has takes enormous courage. I have other photographer friends that had similar reactions, but when they knew the story they had the same reaction as I did.

    Kudos for Edite for her courage and bravery! Very few men or women have this kind of courage, in my opinion.

    You have my vote of confidence Edite!

  • And that’s part of the rub, Eric
    Without the benefit of the written explanation or the benefit of knowing Edite personally
    and hearing her story the images,themselves, are unable to even hint at the condition Edite
    wishes to convey and,as such, they fail ,in my opinion.
    They no more illustrate the topic than does a series of photographs of torn paper does to
    illustrate divorce.

  • For once I am in agreement with Jim. Photographing doll heads is a Photo 1 cliche. The soundtrack to this sounds like the unwanted music that plays when you arrive at the website of a bad wedding photographer.

    As someone who has experienced child loss and the inability to have children amongst my friends and family, I am very aware of the pain and difficulty of this issue… It is immense, and truly, not often talked about… Certainly a deserving topic of a photographic essay.

    These images however, do not get me there. I can see the work as a therapeutic self-therapy, and with that function in mind it is certainly worth creating. But it does not escape the level of cliche, due to the subjects of the photographs. I will grant that the images get more interesting as the essay goes on…

    Though I am not a big fan of this work I commend Burn for including work out of the PJ box…

  • Eric this brings up the question. Is this an essay for a wider audience or just someone’s expression pain and grief? I can see how all this works for people in the know or Edite’s contacts but for the rest of us …….if no artist’s statement then the childless aspect is lost. This means that it cannot stand alone visually or be removed from the artist
    Courage and bravery millions of people show this everyday it isn’t something that special.

  • This possibly sums up my feelings about this piece from the film Adaptation:

    Charlie Kaufman: The only idea more overused than serial killers is multiple personality. On top of that, you explore the notion that cop and criminal are really two aspects of the same person. See every cop movie ever made for other examples of this.

    Donald Kaufman: Mom called it “psychologically taut”.

  • I’d rather read 100 first impression experiences than a long thread about what someone thinks about someone else’s first impression experience. Here is my first impression of the photographs. You can then decide if that teaches you anything about the photographs or not. Each individual will have their own experience.

    As I viewed the photographs I got the overwhelming impression that this was a story about both miscarriage and abortion. The theme was the death of unborn children in its various tragic and horrific forms. A carriage of overturned heads symbolized miscarriage. A baby head in what appeared to be a hospital like environment, detached from its body. Doll heads on a playground swing, like baby ghosts haunting the place. Strange colors and overexposure, as if lit brightly by an overhead operating room lamp. Finding out you had a baby girl in the most horrific, terrifying, and grisly way imaginable; By viewing the dead body of an unborn human once inside you. It left me feeling quite ill and rather emotionally disturbed. It didn’t seem ambiguous at all, I got it loud and clear.

    On the other stuff…
    If you are familiar with a photographer’s explanation before viewing the explained photographs then you are missing the pure first impression. When a photographer explains her photographs to a viewer before the viewing, she is irreversibly changing the viewing experience. The photograph can be a vehicle for the explanation in the form of attached words, or it can contain an idea itself without words. This is not a moral issue. I wish there was a word to describe it. Thinkography? Wordtography? Just let it exist. There is room for it. Become its master. Why not use every tool you’ve got?

    I don’t think the actual content in the main article did any of the above. I’m only mentioning it because it seems some people skipped the presentation, went to the story, then went back to the photographs. I don’t think that was the intention of the photographer at all, and I don’t want to imply that it was. Which is why I’m giving you this tedious explanation! If you viewed it out of the intended order then you are responsible for changing the viewing experience. Don’t blame the presenter. It is like watching a movie when you know how it will end. We call that a spoiler because it spoils the experience of the work itself. Irreversibly destroying the intention of the creator to be viewed without expectations of the work.

  • “Don’t blame the presenter”……..The photographer is in control of the presentation, if there is a certain manner that the audience should view the work then it should be structured that way.

  • As im reading comments i cant help some thoughts and gotta be honest im a little envy (jealous;) , smiling….i cant really remember what was the last time an essay got so SUCCESSFUL so fast, in such a limited amount of time Burn on fire…so many comments within 24 hours or so…was it that amazing “Black Girl” essay published a year ago, was it Bob Black’s “Bones of Time” or was it Patricia Lay Dorsey’s “Falling into place” or was it Imant’s 1st essay …doesnt matter which had more impact , but this essay is definitely one of those…Strong Impact..(and heavy impact brings a lot of love and lots of hate which the other side of same coin)
    Usually when we are afraid to say i love you we choose to say “i hate you” but nobody can sit on the fence on this one…
    Why ? i asked my self…what makes most presentations boring and dull but this here got so powerful, why did it become from a little storm into a hurricane 3 so fast..? smiling smiling..
    Well obviously because it hit the nerve, the weak spot in most of us (even jim’s maternal insticts this time)…Im not gonna explain why it hit the nerve, why the controversy, i know most know it already, you dont need me to explain…If you are a sensitive human being you already know those answers..im not here to play “teacher”,,,laughing…nah not me…
    but my question is : Should Art do that?
    Is FRIDA KAHLO , (yes yes the “disturbing” for many Frida) , controversial? who needed Frida when we had mainstream muralist Diego Rivera that “anyone understands” ? Why Frida is more important? why ??? still asking??? because just like Edite’s work here and Patricia’s “falling into place” they MIRRORED THEMSELVES TO THE POINT IT HURTS…
    Anyone heard about Antoine D’Agata? so much controversy about this philosopher (sorry, photographer) that even half magnum didnt even know what to think of him..why??? still asking??? He mirrored himself..he didnt STEAL a snapshot of the poor homeless guy in skidrow and then run in the comfort zone in his cozy hotel…nahhhh…he slept next to him, shared the same syringe…he dug deep into his soul and cut his wrist , just like Frida and gave it to us to drink , yes us the Art Vampires, the judgmental audience…
    now check this out:

    “I don’t believe that Photography or Art in general, have anything to do with culture. Art is the designated enemy of culture, it points fingers at culture. Art making is a solitary action, I will go as far as saying that art making is an anarchic action, not to be interpreted as having purely political undertones but an action where the artists’ voice is saying something to the world about the artist and the world itself. By integrating Art in culture, which is a widespread activity in todays society, you take away it’s very power. Oh, yes, educational institutions tell you that Art is indeed culture, but not for one second I entertain the idea of that possibility.”
    Domenico Foschi

    whats the point of Art tthat had its balls cut off?
    who needs that? well Safety/Culture/Tradition/Religion/Capitalism needs that…
    1) if your art does not Bother Anyone then you only thing you actually do is BEAUTIFICATION…landscaping and boring postacrds/sunsets…You’re are not an artist then…you’re just a interior decorator…
    2) If you’re not a Doer, a creator then you’re just a believer…good luck.
    3)in other words if you’re Not a Producer then you’re simply a leech sucking blood from that ugly animal’s back called Culture….

    please watch the documentary “EXIT THROUGH THE GIFTSHOP” and you’ll see exactly what i mean…
    think of “cultural events” for example.In your own city , no matter where you live…go to the local museum and watch the spiders making new webs…folks call them Art Museums instead of calling them Tourist Traps..think the exploitation of Alamo(museum) or those scary looking statues of child molesters/(saints) in front of churches…that’s “culture” and thats disgusting and thats what any revolutionary artist should stand against…but who has those balls?
    Question : why in most greek statues in museums all over the world (stolen ones) but also in Athens museum all Statues are mutilated? genitalia cut off? laughing…please do not blame the talibans on this one…or blame them…Religion ( a strong propaganda tool to domesticate the artist to begin with ), “culture”, “tradition”…the 3 arch enemies of contemporary art…
    Why Oscar Wilde got imprisoned back then ? (oh because the status quo decided that homosexuality was a crime)..go figure

    but but but why people hated Frida? or Eminem, or 2Pac?
    Booing Bob Dylan for crissakes… yelling TRAITOR TRAITOR to him…why Jesus got crucified? why the old does not like the new?
    Well feel free to answer that…im not your mommy, tired feeding you, use your own forks por favor

    (hold on, phone rings , i’ll be back)

  • “Frida is the only example in the history of art of someone who slashed her breast and her heart to tell the biological truth of what she feels in them”


  • Stand firm Edite. Thanks Harvey for once again starting an “interesting” conversation.

  • What Diego didn’t expect that many Frida’s will follow ;)( fortunately )

  • When Frida try to express her Pain ( of miscarriages , accident etc ) very few if nobody got it.. Very few accepted it, don’t ask again why please.. Everyone wanted another Diego..
    Safety zone…
    When Elvis started shaking his butt TV wouldn’t play it..
    Jim Morrison got slapped by Ed Sullivan for disobeying orders and performed “girl we couldn’t get much higher ” in national tv..
    My good friend Jim P here, as always honest, disagrees with this kind of mirroring kind of work…and I’m fine with that.. CLASSIC PHOTOJOURNALISM THOUGH its not Art nor it intended to be, so I understand standing his ground defending the local press.. He makes his living this way and I respect it totally..
    But remember:

    PRESS / MEDIA IS : The ideological wing of capitalism.

    ART IS NOT.. Art is the ENEMY and that’s what I’m defending!
    Anyone with me on this one? Is it too early?
    Will my ideas become the Status Quo 200 years from now? Of course they will, but till then I’ll defend art..
    Art against this rotten system , Art against “culture”, “tradition” and FEAR!!!
    Thank you all and thank you Edite for the FOOD FOR THOUGHT YOU PROVIDED..
    Waiting for more, I’m not here to just “defend” you… Laughing, I’m not a lawyer , I’m the one in jail, remember ?
    ( I’m defending ART , that warm gun ;)
    ps: of course I expect denial and provocation on what I wrote above but that’s the least of my concerns ;)

  • Thank you, Panos!!!

    You got the essence.

  • Thank you so much Panos. Gerhard, you get it too.

  • I am stunned. This is not only excellent, it is masterful. It is flat-out one of the best pieces I have ever seen on Burn. From the first frame to the last, I was moved – haunted – by the overwhelming sense of loss. I am in the field right now, privileged to see and experience many wonderful things, but when I looked at this, I thought of my own children, my three grandsons, and both how privileged I am to have them and yet what a temporary and ephemeral thing it is and how little or cumulative time together will be. I wanted to jump on a plane and go south, just to be with them, for whatever moments I could.

    Even without Edite’s narrative, her essay would have evoked the same haunting sense of loss in me; I would have known the loss involved a child, whether by lack of conception or death. Edite makes it clear that loss of a child, even the child that never was, is loss just as great. Words and photos go good together. Edite used just the right blend of words and photos and found the perfect music.

    She created a single artistic package of great power.

    I have moved from Kaktovik village on Barter Island to Barrow and, as you can see, I finally have an Internet connection strong enough to view the essay – fortunately for me.

  • Panos, I’m not an enemy of art. I’m one of the founding members, 10 years ago, of our area art league. The art that hangs on my walls is not photos, but geometric abstract and non-representational paintings. And no maternal instincts here. My wife and I have have been married 34 years and have no children. Never had a moments regret about it.

    And I still think these photos are over processed crap.

  • Jim, ALL…i just had a sudden DEATH in my family…cant elaborate more…mourning…
    (to ALL: please please do not take anything personally…thank you)

  • Sorry to hear that Panos. Take care.

  • My sincere condolences, Panos —

    and a big hug from Gerhard.

  • Frostfrog Bill- your words and the words of many others touch me and fill me with gratitude.

  • Yes… Hugs, Panos. My condolences.

  • You deserve it, Edite. You are a true artist – as I knew from the moment I first saw your slaughterhouse work in New York, then your Hasidic essay, now reconfirmed here.

  • Thank you Bill so much.

  • It is possible to be too close to your subject, I think. This essay may indeed have great meaning for its author, but it is utterly meaningless to me. I kept thinking that I should **feel something**, but I didn’t. There is nothing here for me to connect to, nothing that relates to me or my life at all, just strange photos of dolls heads. I knew it was important and deep to somebody, but just not to me.

  • I knew it was important and deep to somebody, but just not to me.

    fair enough…ignorance is a bliss…lucky you

  • Here is to hoping you are well Panos.
    All the best.

  • Chairman’s comment is exactly how I felt. For me, watching this was like opening a strangers journal and not being able to read the language; but trying to study the handwriting to get to know the individual. I suspect many commentators here exaggerate just how well they understand the piece… feeling obligated to be understanding and encouraging due to the sensitive subject matter. I’m not saying that because I didn’t understand it… just from impressions.

    I didn’t connect with the images at all. But I am glad it was posted here because it sparked a fascinating conversation. I’ve always learned more from the essays on Burn that I don’t enjoy, than from the ones I do.

    Edite… I am glad I saw your essay. I hope you don’t just accept the compliments as valid and dismiss the others.

  • Robert…. Hmmmmmmmmm… You don’t get something, therefore those who claim to must be exaggerating…

    This would include David, who has not expressed an opinion but obviously thought enough of it to put it on Burn.

  • Some art reaches some people, other art reaches others.

    Art works best when it’s full of ambiguity (unlike photojournalism).

    It’s fine if any particular work of art doesn’t reach anyone in particular, as long as it reaches some. No need to feel bad if a particular piece doesn’t reach you.

  • Frostfrog… I do not say that because I DON’T GET IT. I’d say the same thing about something I do get, if I felt that it might likely be the same. Don’t twist my words. You changed the wording and therefore the meaning. I did not point my finger everyone who claims to understands it, and then state that they actually do not. I just get the sense that some of the positive feedback is coming from a place of insecurity rather than actual understanding. I cannot prove this… I know. It’s just an impression I have… you can consider for yourselves if I am right or not.

    “It’s fine if any particular work of art doesn’t reach anyone in particular, as long as it reaches some. No need to feel bad if a particular piece doesn’t reach you.”

    Gerhard… I couldn’t agree more.

  • I suspect many commentators here exaggerate just how well they understand the piece…………..hindsight mentality dictates a lot of the comments.

  • Robert, I made no attempt to quote you and so I did not change your wording or twist your words. It may be that I misinterpreted your intent, but I do think “you don’t get it,” to be a logical interpretation of “For me, watching this was like opening a strangers journal and not being able to read the language.”

    You might argue that, “but trying to study the handwriting to get to know the individual,” implies otherwise, that maybe you did get it, but I think that is a bit of leap. I think you could study the handwriting of most people for a long time and never get them.

  • FrostFrog… I don’t get it. Thats is what I was trying to say. The opposite of getting it. I was saying that I do not understand the piece. But that does not mean I believe, simply for that reason, that many others do not as well.

    Two separate things. There is my understanding of the piece, and then there is my interpretation of the comments themselves.

    Imants… ah yes! Hindsight bias. You said it much more clearly than I did.

  • You are a very confusing person, Robert… But what the hell. Life is confusing.

  • We all live in our own reality. Our reality is unique to us therefore when we are presented with words, images or concepts that dont fit within our values or conceptions of the world/people around us we either choose to let it go or voice an opinion or become militant. This is a personal journey that Edite has chosen and whether you resonate with the series or not its irrelevant. Her reality is based not only on her physical and emotional experiences since birth but also the Karma of past life experiences brought forward into this life. Her expression of her personal pain is via imagery and it will resonate deeply with others who have that same pain.

    Creativity is a reflection of our personality and an expression of emotion. Without emotion your just an automaton regurgitating someone else’s concept or style. When you create an image are you copying another’s style or using imagery as a metaphor for your emotional pain/communication as a way of understanding that pain more or just going through the motions subconsciously taking the same type of image over and over again?

    I began a series of images about woodlands and specifically trees last year. In an intense romantic relationship I knew long before it ended that it would end and the woodlands series is about my intense feeling of love for her and our times we spent in nature. I continue the series as a release for my heartbreak.. It will see the light of day and when I have finished it I will have resolved my loss. I understand Edite very well because I suffer loss albeit a different form. If you have never suffered loss then this work will go over your head.

    Say what you feel about this work.. free speech rules but to completely dismiss another’s heartfelt creations.. their emotional release is just plain nasty.

    Thats my reality speaking!!

  • Excellent observations, Stewart.

    Free speech rules, but on a website for photographers one would expect less nastiness than in the rest of the internet. One could just accept another person’s reality and emotions as they choose to express them through their art without attacking the art. But then, throughout history, all new artistic expression has been attacked because it presented unexpected artistic style(s), and maybe also because it confronted people with issues they did not want to face.

  • Personal interface with these universal, yet totally fresh, images was haunting and full; all senses engaged in receiving a very subtle and tender experience: MY experience, as it was so artfully evoked by Edite’s beautiful piece.
    Such spaciousness and clarity allowed a healing in the moment. I wasn’t suffocated by an over-intensity of imagery or superimposition. What a relief! No need for the intellect to become involved. (How would anyone benefit from such a useless overlay onto this material, anyway?)
    I am grateful for the opportunity to just breathe it all in …


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