Catch me. Shoot me. Remember.

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.

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?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. I was going to get one of me inside the jaws of an alligator, but then I thought better of it.
    None to speak of.

  1. A saturday tale | Dreams, photos & travels

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