Cultures Mix in Today’s Newborn Photography
This turned out to be yet another wonderful newborn shoot and we were able to get some beautiful pictures. I also learned quite a bit about little Zeynep’s family and their home in Istanbul. In fact we were a bit rushed because they were only here visiting and had to catch a plane back to Turkey right after the photo session.
We had an interesting discussion about photography and how it’s perceived in other religions and countries around the world. Many people here in America don’t realize how different photography, especially of people( newborns, portraits, etc.), is viewed in other places across the world. In some religions, photographs of elder family members are hung on the walls and the children of the family are asked to give blessing directly to the picture. The children basically kneel down in front of the photos and start praying. Sometimes this practice is even continued into adulthood.
For older generations of Muslims however, the exact opposite used to be true. Any type of human images, whether it be children’s photographs, wedding photographs, or even newborns… were all frowned upon since pictures of people can lead to what the Quran calls ‘idolatry’. Idolatry is something forbidden in the Quran which refers to the worship of anyone or anything besides a singular God, in this case Allah. ‘Shirk’, as it’s called, is to be avoided by all Muslims. Landscape photography was one of the only types of photography that was permitted since it didn’t have people in it. No kids, newborns, parents, or grandparents allowed!
But thankfully those were the old days and today the Muslim scholars have relaxed their stance. Probably because they saw my work and realized they just had to have a photograph of their little grandchild all dolled up in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! Kidding! No, in truth their views on photography have loosened for obvious reasons, because most of the pictures that families hang on the wall speak more to the retention of memories than any kind of idolatry. But it should be noted that displaying and possessing photos of celebrities or spiritual leaders, is still considered by some to be unacceptable.
So just another day in the life of Beverly Hall Photography. Newborn photos sessions, with all the changing of props and time spent waiting for babies to fall back asleep, leave plenty of time for learning about other cultures!