GLAM-O-ROUS SO GLAM-O-ROUS.
that's the vibe of this maternity session i had with my sister (!) and fellow photographer, katie kopan.
i told her several times prior to our session, that I wanted for her to feel totally comfortable in her body (well, as comfortable as one can possible be while pregnant!). it was an almost cool summer evening on the rooftop of our other sister's apartment - located in minneapolis with a view of bde maka ska below. the hustle and bustle of drivers on lake street as well as bikers and pedestrians on the road and paths below feel far away and the poolside is unusually quiet. it's how i envisioned it being for our session - peaceful.
the light is stunning and i'm getting those start-of-the-session butterflies in my stomach, a sensation i find i've never fully gotten used to. why, after 7 years of photographing individuals, do i still get SO nervous at the start?
i slowly work my jitters away as we explore shots together and move around the space. at one point i literally FALL ON MY ASS taking a shot and my sister's reaction was pretty priceless. i'm embarrassed because a group in the hot tub definitely witnessed this moment!! but, i shoot on anyways. i've kinda learned to laugh at myself for a minute, and then, just keep going.
in life, and in work! and in play. and in parenting. and in wifing.
life and parenting and mothering and being here on this earth is a MESSY business - is it not?
any mother or parent or guardian will confirm this.
and yet - despite all the messiness of existing -
we as a species continue to be capable of
locating / co-creating
as a mother who photographs other mothers and mothers-to-be - i feel a deep yearning to create space for our child-bearers. i feel a yearning to remind each and every one of us how remarkable we are.
carrying and birthing a child, mothering, care-taking, etc.
is an actual BITCH of an experience for many of us.
what's so excruciating about it is how little we as a patriarchal white-supremacist society create space for celebrating mothers and mothers-to-be. how little we respect and honor womxn's rights to bodily autonomy. how rare it is for medical professionals to really listen to womxn. additionaly, the complete lack of education we have around womxns' experiences of carrying and birthing a child, not to mention her/their postpartum experiences (and for that matter, any issues related to menstruation, sexuality, etc.)
well, i firmly believe that each and every one of us who choose to bear a child can breath life into our own stories by way of sharing them with those we're close to. we ourselves can shed light on lies/inaccuracies repeated about womxn's bodies over centuries, both within our family units and as well as our wider communities, as we feel comfortable.
more and more i hear my friends or new acquaintances who do not have children say something to the effect of "i don't know anything about pregnancy/giving birth" - and this is coming from women of child-bearing age!! this was ME when we got pregnant with our little one. i had to urgently start my research in order to feel more prepared - because when we first found out i was like a deer in the headlights.
this is katie's second pregnancy and she gives off a totally different vibe than that. she told me several times how good she was feeling in her body! and this made
me so happy.
plus, this abundant positive energy totally shone through in these images. katie was relaxed and willing to pop into several different poses as well as hop in the semi-chilly pool!
my vision for this session was totally related to SELF LOVE kinda shit. i feel like we rarely see mothers/pregnant women really pampering themselves. often times in images they're in something really flowy, giving off "i'm an angel" vibes.
this is a great vibe and i am behind it - but, child-bearing women are also just straight up BAD ASSES.
and i get sort of tired of pretending like we're just floating around feeling like angels all day - i think feeling good takes some element of badness. an element of saying, "fuck you" to society's definition of your story. and taking the narrative back - celebrating the strength and story of your body. not covering it up with flowy narratives that visually overestimate the sense of ease women feel carrying a child.
what was different about this session was the playfulness - the non-flutteryness of everything.
the way we see katie's body so beautifully, no covering up. and she is - and she feels - strong. this shines through. she is at peace - this shines through too.
but she is no angel - no no no - she is fierce as fuck.
i am thankful for katie's trust in me for this session. this was our second attempt at shooting - the first time didn't work out. and i pushed us to reschedule instead of trying to make it happen in that moment.
i am so so glad we waited.
"do you believe in divine timing?" i asked katie when i wanted to reschedule.
"because i believe in it very much".
(which is why i've never been able to acclimate to the hustle culture. it's so spiritually draining!!)
next, we headed to my sister's apartment balcony in order to make some images with a nice clean background.
i adore how these turned out as well. such a gorgeous look for katie and very much in line with her vibe, i feel!!
i am thrilled we were able to create images that fulfilled our vision. this maternity session was purely about celebrating KATIE.
while i highlighted baby of course with imagery of her gorgeous bump, i also feel the focus in these images is very much Katie herself. every mother and mother-to-be deserves to receive strong and abundant moments of love!!! that's what a photo session ought to be about - completely soaking yourself in feelings like;
"i'm the fucking shit"
"look how hot i am pregnant"
"this little baby tyke sure is lucky to have me"
katie, you carry the universe within you.
thank you for trusting me to capture it.
LOVE YOUR SISTER,