Lennart Nilsson first became known to the public in 1965 after his photographs were published in LIFE magazine. These shots were reproduced in many other well-known magazines soon after.
When Nilsson was a child he was very passionate about microscopes and cameras. That passion developed in the ambition to show the world the miracle of life.
To get the most precise shots he used a cystoscope- a medical instrument used to examine the urinary bladder, attached a camera to it and recorded the life of the embryo in the womb.
The results were marvelous; for the first time he enabled people to see the formation and earliest development of human life.
The following photos are a compilation of images showing how life is born.
The spermatozoon moves along the fallopian tube towards the egg.
The crucial moment
One of the father’s 200 million spermatozoa penetrates the membrane of the egg.
The spermatozoon’s point of view. The head contains all of the genetic material.
A week later, the embryo migrates to the womb by floating downwards through the fallopian tube.
After another week, the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus.
The embryo at 22 day’s development. The grey area will become the child’s brain.
By the 18th day of development, the foetus’ heart begins to beat.
28 days after fertilisation.
At five weeks, the foetus is 9 millimetres long; it’s already possible to see the face with its openings for the mouth, nostrils and eyes.
40 days of development. The exterior cells of the foetus join with the loose surface of the uterus wall to form the placenta.
At 8 weeks of development.
10 weeks. It’s eyelids are already half open. Within several days they will be completely formed.
At 10 weeks, the embryo already uses its hands to study the environment.
The lines of blood vessels are visible through its skin.
18 weeks. The foetus can now detect sounds from the outside world.
20 weeks. The foetus is now 20 centimetres long. Hair starts to appear on its head.
36 weeks. In a month, the baby will be born.
Nilsson’s book, ’A Child is Born’, was published in 1965. It sold out in just a few days and has been republished many times, becoming one of the most popular photography books of all time.
Lennart Nillson is now 91. He’s still interested in science and photography.