Atlanta Newborn Photographer Wrestles with What’s ‘Real’
Amber contacted me in late November to book a newborn session for her daughter Juliette who was due for arrival at the end of January. Our session went off without a hitch and the pictures turned out wonderful. Daddy came at the end for his pictures and was a big help! We experimented with my newborn prop that entails hanging a baby from a branch with a pretty background behind the baby. It’s a rarity that I use this prop because frankly I feel this arrangement sits at the upper boundaries of ‘what’s realistically possible’ when it comes to potential scenarios a newborn might find themselves in during their first week of life.
Yes, I can hear you screaming, ‘a newborn wouldn’t find themselves in any of these scenarios!” True, but for me, newborn photography has always been about keeping it real while still embracing the unusual. For example, it’s possible that somewhere in the world a newborn baby may perhaps find themselves lying in a basket in a barn, or freshly laid out on silky smooth sheets of varying colors tightly wrapped in cute little wraps of similar colors. No? Okay, it’s unlikely, but I like to think my job is to show my clients what, in that instant, their baby would look like if he or she were to find themselves in such a scenario. After all, isn’t that the logic behind every good movie? An extraordinary sequence of events that’s so unlikely, so entertaining, the story just had to be told.
This is the world newborn photography lives in. And perhaps that’s why parents want to document this first week of their baby’s life within such extraordinary circumstances, wrapped in beautiful garments, wearing unique, organically made headbands, bathed in that perfect, heavenly light, the kind you just can’t find in the hospital or your house… So all that to say, my branch prop doesn’t get much photography time. Even worse, it can sometimes make the parents feel a little uneasy, with the baby suspended in the air, squeezed up against that mesh… no, to me the branch prop comes dangerously close to the tackier side of newborn and infant photography. When it’s done well it can look beautiful and perhaps achieve something, but my bet would be that even if the photograph did turn out well, it wouldn’t be the one the parents choose to hang above their fireplace.
So, in my newborn studio here in Atlanta, Georgia I strive for an element of realism in spite of the ‘unreal’ nature of newborn photography.