“I just don’t like the way my body looks like right now.” Every woman I have ever known has said that. Whether it be the pressures from other girlfriends or society-I always find it nothing less than frustrating, but if the average woman doesn’t love everything about her body or is always wishing to be more Vogue then imagine how she must feel once pregnant-and then even further into pregnancy journey.
First and foremost: I find the woman’s body incredibly fascinating and beautiful: fit, not fit, scars or no scars, pregnant or not pregnant-the female body is incredible. I also absolutely love nothing more than a woman embracing who is she is: mentally and physically. Sometimes that means photographing her in her home, or with her significant other, or, in this case, with her husband in my studio. There’s usually music playing, some drinks (not for maternity of course) more laughs and then we just sort of ease into the portrait session casually… Now, maybe you are saying: I just don’t think that I’ll frame these photos because, I don’t know, they seem too personal and who wants to see my belly?
Your spouse? Your partner? Your family? Your child? *insert my voice becoming more dramatic here* You?
I’m a firm believer that these moments should be cherished-because here is the thing: out of it comes life, and why not capture it in a more intimate and honest nature when we all know that this is how the process began in the first place. It’s just honest and authentic-two things I strive for most in all of my work. I’m also a firm believer in any one of my client’s natural beauty: and I mean that exactly how I typed it: NATURAL.BEAUTY. Every body changes. Every body is meant to change. We all grow, we all age, we all get wrinkles, we all have that one scar we cannot stand to look at-but hopefully, with time, we all embrace more of our true selves daily.
A couple months ago I received a message from a beautiful momma whose maternity session I captured a few years back. She, like many, wanted a more traditional session with her husband and pup—as a fellow photographer herself she embraced an artistic approach but still wanted it kept, oh…we will say ‘sanctioned.’ I said I would but preferred to also capture her in the studio-dressed in lace and for her to have shots that we will say were more, oh…intimate. Her message to me that I received a couple months ago? A thank you for the intimate studio session, explaining that she loved looking back on herself in those moments now and is so happy it was captured that way.
That is all the thanks I ever need. Truly. I think about that message often-more than she knows, because momma’s: you are incredible. You are incredible to grow a human inside of you, you are incredible to embrace these changes that bring life, and you are incredible to embrace your body: it’s scars, it’s struggles, it’s wrinkles or stretch marks: they are uniquely you and uniquely tell your story every.single.day.
The woman in these photos below? She had the same attitude about a maternity session. I remember her saying something to the effect of “I just don’t think I would put those type of photos on the walls, you know?” No. I don’t, but knowing that I would also be capturing their firstborn I left it up to the couple-because that is who ultimately makes the decision and that is who needs to be the most comfortable during the process. In the end they went for it, and I’m so happy they did because the photos turned out wonderfully. We also ended up taking a few more traditional photos around the garden of her parents home….
And guess which photos are in frames in both the nursery and their living room? That’s right. The studio portraits.