Catch me. Shoot me. Remember.

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Catch me while you can...

No one wants their picture made when they do not like the look of their bodies. There is one time when you absolutely must sit (not necessarily physically sit) for pictures because the time is truly short to catch the shot you want.

The pregnancy portrait has been a recurring theme in art since the Renaissance. Today’s technology presents more and more ways to celebrate the body of the mother-to-be.

Although most women will shy from cameras or hide their bulging bellies due the last trimester of pregnancy, pregnancy portraits are truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Late stage portraits take such forms as nudes, themes and partners.

In the Buff

Nudes may seem like a vulgar term to many, but are some of the most artfully done photographs. The most famous pregnancy portrait nude is of Nastassja Kinski and a sixteen-foot Burmese python, draped to cover her pubic region. Many positions accent the belly without making the nude about the pubis or the breasts.

Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent ~ Richard Avedon 1981

Matching Hats

Themes can be amusing. These portraits are designed to fit seamlessly into your decor. If your gallery has a nautical theme, using body drapes of sails or diver’s flags and props such as anchors and steering wheels make a pregnancy photo that is as fun as it is decorative. Here your imagination is the limit!

His and Hers

Partners are the most touching of all pregnancy portraits. Accomplished by combining aspects of the nudes and the themes, bonding is the thrust of this pregnancy portrait. Poses include husband touching or kissing the wife’s navel in profile, cradling of the belly by the husband or spooning. Through most of these photographs, the pregnant belly is exposed to accentuate the fact that the father-to-be is equally as anticipatory of the blessed event.

He is happy about it, too.

Two other types of pregnancy portraits are regaining popularity. Progression imagery and sculpture.

Progression imagery is very simple in the digital age. Whether focusing just on the swelling belly or on the profile of the woman as a whole, these images are linked in date order into flip books, streaming video or straight collage format to show the stages from no bump to big hump to with baby.

Sculpture is the grandest form of pregnancy portrait.

Two types are normally associated with pregnancy: the statuette and the mold.

Displayed at Tampa's Museum of Science & Industry

The statuette may be any size your budget allows. The most extravagant would be the life sized statue, where the more modest and common would be the 12-16 inch statuette. Working with a sculptor requires a time commitment which you must gauge based upon your health and schedule. Be certain to have the artist mark and date the sculpture for you. Consider also a Madonna sculpture before your child is one month old.

The mold is the most intimate of sculptures. The woman lies down, and the artist spreads plaster of Paris, clay or silicone over the breasts and belly. Plaster of Paris will present a mold similar to the hand prints or foot molds done of infants in the hospital. Clay will be able to be dried or glazed and fired, based on your taste. Silicone can be used as a mold to have your belly immortalized in almost any medium imaginable.

While silicone is not advised for beginners, plaster of Paris and clay can be done between husband and wife.

Capture the glow of pregnancy while it is at its peak. This time truly only comes once in a lifetime, since it is different every time.

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Have you had a pregnancy portrait made? Which type did you get? Have you seen a pregnancy portrait besides the first portrait in the post?


(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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26 Comments

  1. While I despise pictures of me at anytime, these are lovely and I can understand the value.

    Reply
    • This is one of my largest regrets. At all of the times I was pregnant, there was not an opportunity for anyone except me to want to remember. I wish I had done them then. I loved being pregnant.

      Reply
    • See the response I gave Em from The Waiting.

      Reply
  2. I like the idea of the couple one the most.
    Especially if they both look overjoyed, as in the pic above.

    Reply
    • I have seen some truly amazing ones. I love the ones where the man’s face is against the hump. Some of those where he kisses the hump are very amusing.

      Reply
  3. Did you ever read about the sculpture of Alison Lapper pregnant? It was one of the plinths in Traflagar Square for two years She was born without arms and had shortened legs. It was quite stunning alonside statues of historial figures

    Reply
    • I have seen pictures of it. I think it is a terrific example. Her attitude about it is amazing.

      Reply
  4. I guess I can understand being a bit camera shy…
    I know I definitely prefer staying behind a camera to getting caught in front of one (if the lens cap is off, anyway)!
    🙂

    Reply
    • <<< is all pork. And I have given birth to another generation of pork. Who has dutifully begun producing yet another generation of pork. I think it is genetic.

      Reply
  5. Here in the UK we tend to be more conservative as a rule, especially the older women who see a bulging belly as being obscene.

    The younger generation are quite happy to wear crop tops with their belly bulge clearly on display – which has sparked some nasty comments from some of the older women!

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.

    Reply
    • Oh, pish tosh. Americans are far more sexually repressed than Brits. And dowagers are the same in all countries. They are the ones who want to tell pregnant women what to do and how to do it.

      I think your climate is all that gives Britain the appearance of being “more conservative”. Frankly, it is warmer here, and we wear far fewer clothes year round. Clothes there are self defense, not modesty.
      {HUGZ}
      Red.

      Reply
  6. I have considered having professional photos taken throughout this pregnancy, but I apparently have a lot more body issues than I originally thought because the idea of showing off my belly in photos kind of weirds me out personally. As much as I like being pregnant and LOVE what my body is doing, a couple shots in the mirror throughout these last weeks will suffice for me.

    Reply
    • I may have to share some more personal photos. We had portraits taken the month before my grandson came along. And as huge as my daughter was, and as much as she objected at the time, she loves those photographs today.
      Red.

      Reply
  7. I like the way that the girl’s hair gets grey after giving birth in the sequence shots! How telling!

    Great post, Red!

    Reply
    • A friend of mine did an amazing collage of another friend of ours. In the weekly shots, we watched her hair get longer as her belly got larger. The week she had the baby, she cut her hair short. Her husband said, “She did not cut it…she pulled it out!”

      Reply
  8. Living as I do on both sides of the Atlantic, I can vouch for Red’s comment about which population is more sexually repressed. But there is also a generational thing at work here. Lots of us Baby Boomers missed out on most of the ‘Swingin’ 60s’ thing and taking a photo of one’s pregnant wife, even for family display, was a no-no. Fortunately, that taboo is no longer as common as it was.
    The picture of the couple shown here is lovely, and I particularly like the ‘stages of pregnancy’ set, with the final product in Momma’s arms!
    As always, I’m hugely impressed by the quality of your posts, Red.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Stu. My eclectic nature makes some readers dizzy. It is much like having a conversation with me, though…except with illustrations.

      I may have to offer up some of the portraiture we had done for my daughter whilst she was pregnant with my grandson.

      Reply
  9. I made a drawing of Tracy when she was pregnant, a reclining nude. I wish I knew what happened to the drawing.

    John

    Reply
    • That would be a great one to find. Didn’t you shoot some photos of Sue right before the twins were born?
      Red.

      Reply
      • I fear the drawing (with a lot of other old drawings) is lost for good. I don’t remember if I shot any of Sue. I think my mind is shot. LOL Sue was huge.

        John

        Reply
        • I remember. I think I remember some you shot in the kitchen, but I cannot remember if you shot any in profile.
          Red.

          Reply
  10. There is nothing in life more beautiful than an expectant mother. She is truly God’s gift. My youngest is due in March and she is beautiful….. and not cause she’s my daughter.

    Reply
    • I think I may just put up a montage of some of the ones I have. Not of me, of course. But of our soon-to-be grandchildren’s mothers.

      Reply

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