I am a professional birth photographer, and support person. North Carolina is my home. I serve in birth spaces far and wide. My client base starts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and expands to wherever the waves take me. I travel for birth often, and have the most beautiful oceans of support and unique resources that allow me that flexibility.
I live with my heart cracked wide open. My love, my grief, it's all mixed up. A unique microbiome of experiences that I embrace and carry with me always.
I artistically document moments of love, passion, grief, culture, and power. My photography style is raw, fresh, moody, and intimate. I look for the drops of milk and water, the cracks in our stories and skin- the places light pours into and through.
I love photographing moments that are real and unposed, that unfold on their own in beautiful chaotic ways. I don't direct, I observe and hold space and cherish. Then I take the moments tenderly stored on my memory cards, and I breathe magic onto them over a cup of earl grey tea.
I am an artist, a storyteller, and a lover. I am also a poet, a writer, an editor. I have plans to create more space for this writing and magic, in ways directly related to birth work.
You can follow me on social media at:
CordeliaGrey Oriana Allen
My name is CordeliaGrey Oriana Allen. Cordelia means daughter of the sea, heart of a lion. Grey for the storms of life, the color of grief, and for all of the grey spaces that others shy away from. Oriana for the stars and the sunrise. For every new hope and beginning. For the wisdom of every celestial promise and touch. The meaning for Allen lies in stone, in beauty, in harmony. It reminds me of a mantra I often use to ground myself. A reminder and a balm.
Steady, Gentle, Grace.
Names and words are so important to me.
I love words.
I love rainstorms, placentas, and travel. I collect feathers and buttons and kisses.
I love circles, the color grey, plants, and stars. I love people, poetry, tattoos, and tea.
I love finding joy! In art, in nature, in video games, in books, and sunsets.
I love finding magic in every day moments, and finding stories in between the lines
that others skim over.
My heart beats
for my family, and for birth.
Many birth photographers strive for an invisible presence in birth, claiming to be a "fly on the wall" but I own a different philosophy. I believe that each person in a birth space influences the birthing person and affects the space whether they mean to or not. I am super intentional with the energy I bring to birth. I am quiet and calm, gentle and giving. I hold space, and hold hands, and hold mothers, and sometimes I am graced with that gift of holding a baby. I strive to be what is most needed in each moment. A photographer, a friend, a doula, a mother, a nurturer, a coach, a silent sentry. I will cry with you, pray over you, keep your secrets and dreams and fears. I adapt, I read people and rooms exceptionally well, and the energy I bring to your birth, is reflective of your needs and birth plan. While I work well with everyone, my heart belongs to the mother, and to her child. Their bond, and relationship, is most vital to me, and I strive to protect it, cherish it, and honor the magic of it through my work.
Areas of special training- certification- or experience include: childcare and development, PMADS, birth loss, special needs, autism, mental illness, trauma, lactation support, lotus birth, home birth, unassisted birth, cesarean birth, miscarriage, still birth, postpartum support, postpartum planning. I am constantly adapting my services, furthering my education, and shifting my understanding to allow for change.
I like to think I grew up with a little bit of everywhere in my blood. Living in multiple states, and traveling often, I never did have a home town, but all the earth fills my soul. Right now, I am calling North Carolina home, and it claims a huge slice of my heart. I adore the seasons here, the way the leaves turn green overnight in spring, and shock us with colors so vibrant in fall. I love the beach most, but also the mountains and forests and rivers and falls. Water calls to me.
I share this home with my own little family; My husband, Justin, steady and strong and incredibly fun to be around, a good man everyone adores. He is the backbone of my support, the sounding board for all of my ideas and passions, my constant steady anchor. He holds space for me. My son, Despin, whose main goal in life is to make everyone laugh. He is hilarious, and kind. Both he and I are autistic, he is such a strong echo of my own beautiful soul.
I am also mother to a little girl named Elsie, who gained her wings too soon. She had a spirit of gold, and whispers to me in every sunset.
The two births of my children were polar opposites, and both fuel my passion for this work. I have a couple photos from each one, that I cherish with all of my heart. My sons birth was long and traumatic and terribly unsupported. Doctors made mistakes, nurses broke my heart, and the separation between my child and myself after birth sent us all into a long hard journey of postpartum depression and PTSD that would take years to climb out of. There are still ripples from that event, that affect my life today. It changed our story forever, threw me into the world of birth rights. I clung to my birth photos while we were separated. They showed me small moments of joy within this story that I could not recall for myself.
When Elsie was born, my sweet girl, everything was different. I was educated, I was supported to the point of feeling cherished. I felt safe during her birth. Despite proper education and support, nothing could have prepared me for her loss. I experienced a long journey through grief, one I still walk to this day. Despite the loss of her life, her birth story was SO full of grace and love and divine timing. It was magical, and healing. I trusted my body, I birthed on my terms, and it is simply a story that you have to ask me about one day. I still love to share and talk about everything she taught me. I have this one photo from her birth, that is just miraculous, she was born in her waters, and fit in my hand. I treasure it with all my heart. She is with me in every golden hour. We honor her every November with a special ceremony at the beach. She taught me more about birth then any book or training ever did.
Birth is unpredictable. Wild. Ethereal. It can take us to indescribable places. It is also vulnerable. We must protect it and prepare ourselves to be active participants within its turns. Giving into the flow, being open to where it takes us. No matter how or where you birth, you deserve support and education and light, you deserve someone that will hold space for YOU, for your unique birth. That is what I am passionate about- giving the space that others take away.
"It put me in touch with what it means to be female in a way that we are not taught. We're taught how to have power if we can have the kind of power that men have, we're taught how to have power if we can be sexy and appeal to a man's taste in that way, but we're not really taught the really primal
embodied raw power that is what it is to be female...
and that's what you see in the birth room."
In Birth Becomes You
Contest and Review
Trained in Perinatal Mood
and Anxiety Disorders with
Published in Lensational Magazine
2018 and 2019
is my forever call
I am here for it all. Long term and all in. I will jump into the waves of any ocean required of me.
About birth, photography, doula care, becoming a birth worker, a birth photographer or something else?
Contact me to book a consult. Consults are free for my clients (if you are booking me for your birth services) and a suggested donation of $50 an hour for everyone else.