You Need to Read This Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer’s Note About Working While Pregnant
Rachel Morrison, who made Oscars history this year by becoming the first woman to be nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award, has worked behind the scenes on films including Black Panther, Mudbound, and Fruitvale Station. Most recently, she was the cinematographer on an upcoming feature called Against All Enemies, which she wrapped at eight months pregnant.
“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,” Morrison captioned an Instagram photo of herself pregnant and carrying a camera on her shoulder.
She went on to acknowledge that “while no two pregnancies are the same,” many women are able to keep up with their normal activities. She used herself as an example, noting that she just wrapped a feature and is now off to shoot a commercial.
“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 got into labor on set,” she wrote. “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.”
Morrison, who already has a son, added that, physically, she could have gone back to work within a week of giving birth to her first child, but “people were nervous to hire” her right away and she “lost many jobs” because of that.
“But again I say this should be left up to us,” she wrote. “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.”
Morrison’s post was regrammed by several celebrities, including Mindy Kaling and Anne Hathaway. “I saw this on Annie’s Insta and was so impressed,” Kaling wrote on her repost. “Pregnant women and new moms are a valuable part of the workforce. I worked until two days before my daughter was born, because I was (luckily) able, and because my creative partners … supported whatever i felt i could do. I acknowledge how lucky I am to work under those circumstances. Reading Rachel’s Insta reminds me that as employers we shouldn’t be afraid of hiring these women! We work hard! And we wanna work!”
(photo via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)