Cinematographer Rachel Morrison: Working While Pregnant Should Be “MY Choice and No One Else’s”

There’s a common misconception that likens pregnancy to some kind of disability— the idea that women who are pregnant shouldn’t be active and can’t go about their normal lives… While no two pregnancies are the same, I just want to say that for many to most women this isn’t the case at all. I just wrapped a feature #againstallenemies at 8+ months pregnant. Now I’m on to a commercial and I plan to keep shooting for as long as anyone will hire me knowing in a few weeks I may have to replace myself if I go into labor on set… the point is I am NOT a superhero. I am just going about my life doing the thing that I love for as long as I can because the more I work before baby the longer I can take off after. Which should also be MY choice and no one else’s. Physically speaking I could have gone back to work within a week of having my son. At the time, I lost many jobs because people were nervous to hire me so soon after the birth but again I say this should be left up to us. Pregnancy and motherhood in general is not a disadvantage and the craft doesn’t suffer as a result. If anything the added experience and enhanced empathy has made me a better cinematographer and filmmaker. That’s all. Happy Friday! #femalefilmmakerfriday #shootfilm #cseries #panavisionofficial 📷 by @loganwhitephoto

A post shared by Rachel Morrison, ASC. (@rmorrison) on

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison became the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for her work on Dee Rees’s 2017 film Mudbound. Her work on Dope, Fruitvale Station, and Black Panther also received a ton of praise, and it only seems natural that she’d be in high demand. However, Morrison recently shared an Instagram post about how her pregnancy cost her jobs in the past, encouraging people to let pregnant individuals choose for themselves whether or not they feel able to work.

In her post, Morrison talks about the preconceived notion that “women who are pregnant shouldn’t be active and can’t go about their normal lives.” While the cinematographer acknowledges that pregnancies are not all alike, she states that this wasn’t her experience and intends to continue working, having just  “wrapped a feature #againstallenemies at 8+ months pregnant” and continuing “for as long as anyone will hire me knowing in a few weeks I may have to replace myself if I go into labor on set.”

“I am NOT a superhero”, writes Morrison, “I am just going about my life doing the thing that I love for as long as I can because the more I work before baby the longer I can take off after. Which should also be MY choice and no one else’s.” The cinematographer writes about losing jobs because “people were nervous to hire me so soon after the birth”, and emphasizing that “[pregnancy] and motherhood in general is not a disadvantage and the craft doesn’t suffer as a result. If anything the added experience and enhanced empathy has made me a better cinematographer and filmmaker.”

Against All Enemies, directed by Benedict Andrews and starring Kristen Stewart, tells the story of the FBI’s surveillance program COINTELPRO, which begins targeting actress Jean Seberg (Stewart) for her associations with the Black Panther Party.

(via Indiewire, image: Steve Dietl / Netflix)

 

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