When I started out my photography career in 2009, my idea was to create beautiful newborn images. Maternity sessions weren’t on my radar at all. When I looked back on how I felt while 8+ months pregnant, it wasn’t a memory I thought most women would be interested in documenting. Although everyone around says how beautiful you look, 8+ months pregnant mainly feels awkward, swollen, back pain and somewhat impatient for it to be over. And back in the 80’s, maternity dresses resembled a Big Agnes Backcountry tent. Imagining having those images in my posession today would be pretty comical. At the time though, I most likely would have cried at the sight of myself in pictures.
Thankfully, after enduring the nine months of sickness, bloating and stretch marks, I ended up with healthy, beautiful babies. The memories of the trying times of pregnancy tend to evaporate once the babies arrive.
And maybe that’s the point of the maternity session. Those nine months of slow paced anticipation is actually a blink of an eye compared to the next 18 years. Or even the following 18 months of the “feeding-changing-why is he crying now?” marathon! Nine months goes by so fast when it seemed like it would go on forever.
Today, pregnancies are much more celebrated in public with clothing that accentuates the baby bump. It’s very popular today for a woman to be proud of her body’s transformation as she grows into a mother. Mothers-to-be are also less shy around documenting that small slice of time in photographs.
I genuinely started out wanting to create newborn portraits and took a detour for a few years learning glamour, which taught me posing and lighting – but that training has come back more than full circle to show me how to highlight the beauty of motherhood. Photographing maternity in a more elegant way.
The maternity session is truly a collection of very special portraits. And the shots are sometimes so much more than I could have imagined. When a woman, 8 months pregnant, can recognize her glowing beauty in images when she probably hasn’t felt beautiful in quite some time and she knows she’s going to be sleep deprived for quite some time, that makes offering this kind of experience a tremendous joy. And when I think that these images might be ones that, when this baby is grown with a family of his own, he will be showing off one or more of these and telling people, “this is my beautiful mother.”
I know in my heart that these portraits live far past one beautiful afternoon. These are markers of family history that might very well be treasured for a century. That is a belief I hold very seriously when I set out to create every portrait experience.