Baby Preston at Two Weeks

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As I edited these photos of beautiful Baby Preston I found myself thinking a lot about Anne Geddes.  I’m not a snarky person, I’m not into negative campaigns and I really believe there’s room for everything in the world of photography.  I just don’t….get it.  Clearly she’s more successful as than me by a factor of a bazillion: much more technically accomplished than myself and a bazillion times more wealthy.   Clearly the majority of this country relates to her vision of babies, hence her fame.  But I’ve never once looked a photo of a baby dressed up like a fruit or flower or animal or hanging precariously from a sheer sac like an abstract womb and thought, aw, how cute.  My reactions have been more along the lines of, where’s that kid’s mother?

Do we have to reach for ways to make babies more photogenic?  Can you make a baby as perfect as Preston Lee look more beautiful than this?

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Its not just Anne Geddes.  Go on Etsy and you can buy a hand crocheted sac to hang your baby from or fluffy basket stuffing for pro photo sessions.  Many of you know I’m big into the handmade movement so I’m not dogging these crafters or enterprising photographers offering such products, they are making something the people want.  But to me, there’s something special about photographing a baby with something they already own: something handmade for them with love by a friend or relative to keep that baby warm rather than made for the sole purpose of a picture.  Something you will hand down to that child as an heirloom when they are grown and expecting their own child.  I know there are babies that don’t have such things.  Preston is a lucky boy to have so many lovely handmade things for me to choose from…

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Or the simplicity of photographing babies where they truly belong, in loving arms.  I love how tightly Craig cradles his tiny boy, its one of the lovely “tells” of a new dad.   10 bucks says that by the time I return he’ll be throwing Preston 3 feet in the air, making Natalie crazy…

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Does dressing a newborn baby to look like something found in nature speak to their innocence or cheapen it?  It might be like putting a scoop of ice cream on ice cream cake (which, I can admit, is something I have been known to do).  I love the process of photographing parents being parents, watching them bask in the wonder of this amazing little person who somehow managed to grab the helm and change the course.  You can see that Preston isn’t just loved by Natalie and Craig, he belongs to them.  And that is far more beautiful than anything I could dream up in a studio or stage for the camera.

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I know it might bother Natalie, now, that the ever recognizable, standard issue hospital receiving blanket is so visible in this shot.  But it might be different later.  Every time I see that blanket, belonging either to my son or another baby, I zoom through a wormhole back through time to Fiver’s birth.  I don’t know if there is another object that has the effect of that ubiquitous blue and pink striped blanket on me.

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I was pleased to see that the family message board still had a welcome home greeting written on it.  I just had to take advantage of that….

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I loved the very act of shooting these photos.  If there’s something I’m certain Anne Geddes and I would both agree on, its that new babies are fascinatingly beautiful creatures.  I wish that these pictures had the capability to play the sleepy baby sighs that accompanied us as we moved through the house, in and out of light.  The only sound better than Preston’s sleepy sighs will be his laugh, a sound that’s yet to come.

Here’s a slideshow of the session and if you would like to view the online gallery, click here.  Congratulations, Natalie and Craig, on such a beautiful baby boy  and thank you once again for inviting me into your home to document this time for your family.  Already I can’t wait for our next shoot…

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