I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and are still revelling in the festive season! I did intend to upload some Christmassy images and an accompanying blog entry to wish you season's greetings, but time got the better of me. I do still have more images to sort through and share, though, so hopefully in the meantime my earlier Wintry blog entry will have sufficed for getting in the spirit!
These images are from a very recent shoot with John Tisbury. I mentioned in my previous blog entry that I was initially disappointed with the reaction I received to my pregnancy, in that so many photographers shared the view that 'all maternity shoots were clichéd.' I have done my best to challenge that perception while shooting maternity images, and I hope that this series is no exception.
But the notion that pregnancy images are clichéd is not the only challenge I came up against. Amongst other comments, were some other ideas that caused me to question my own perceptions of my body and the place of pregnancy within art nude, and even (at times) the place of art nude itself.
Before I share some of these ideas with you, I have to say that although the initial response to my castings was disappointing, the reaction I've received to the photos I have since produced throughout my pregnancy has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have, at times, been blown away by the amazing comments, messages and notes I've received. I'm so grateful that I got over my initial disappointment and carried on regardless, because the response I've had has definitely outweighed any discouragement I felt at first, and I would like to thank everyone who has worked with me, encouraged me, or simply appreciated my work.
The following are some comments I encountered in response to my pregnancy. Some are quoted verbatim and were aimed at me specifically, others are more generalised comments I came across online in relation to pregnancy shoots or other pregnant models. I am absolutely sure that none were intended to offend me directly. However, they did provide my initial motivation to challenge some of these perceptions:
"Pregnancy shoots are so clichéd. They all look the same."
"There is no commercial value in maternity images."
"Maternity shoots are only valuable to the model. They are worthless to the photographer, so are only worth shooting TFP."
"Pregnant women are not aesthetically pleasing."
"These things do happen, and models do get pregnant."
"I have no idea how to shoot pregnant women to make them look attractive."
"Another internet model 'pupped.' That's original."
"Was it deliberate?"
"Motherhood will be the end of your career."
Some of these comments may have a point (I'm not commenting on each statement, as I'd rather you draw your own conclusions). I'm not saying whether I entirely agree or disagree with some of them, but some of the photos I have produced have been a direct response to some of these notions, and I would like to think that I have challenged some of these perceptions in some small way. And if not, then at the very least, I have enjoyed producing these photos for my own benefit (maybe I'm inadvertently making the point that maternity shoots are only valuable to the model!).
Again I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful response I've received to my pregnancy photos, and for the well-wishes and good luck messages! The responses have certainly outweighed any negatives, and I really appreciate the support.
I have had a lot of enquiries recently for shoots, which sadly, may have come too late! I will continue to shoot pregnancy images as long as I am able, but I will be limiting shoots until the baby arrives to two hour slots, and will only be shooting locally (near Chesterfield). For anyone who wishes to travel to me to shoot, I suggest you contact me to make arrangements sooner rather than later. I can arrange local studios, or shoot from home within reason. However, I have no control over when the baby will decide to arrive, so please bear that in mind if you would like to book! But do drop me an email (email@example.com) and we can discuss.
I'll try to update again before new year. If time gets the better of me again, then I wish you all season's greetings and a prosperous 2012.
All images by and copyright of John Tisbury.