Emma Jean Nolan is a midwife and photographer in Brisbane, Australia. Sometimes she gets to combine her trades. When Harper Hoani Spies was born, she took this photo of her along with her intact placenta. Nolan shaped the umbilical cord to spell "love."
Baby Harper is Maori--the indigenous people of New Zealand. In keeping with Maori tradition, her parents will take the placenta back to New Zealand and bury it. Nolan describes this tradition:
As a Maori baby his placenta will now be returned to the land. The word ‘whenua’ relates to the placenta and to the land. Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) the link between the newborn and papatuanuku(mother earth). With this affinity established, each individual fulfils the role of curator, for papatuanuku (mother earth), which remains life long.