Intimate. Joyful. Tender. Peaceful. Loving.
A couple of years ago, the instructor in a marketing course I took advised me and the other students in the class to come up with five to ten words that define our vision and our work, and to check in with ourselves regularly to ask whether the images we are sharing with the world consistently reflect one or more of those themes. It was a simple yet powerful piece of advice, and my teacher's suggestion made me realize that at that point in my career, I really hadn't yet taken the time to define my work for myself. I felt that my images tend were evoking a pretty consistent range of emotions, but I wasn't being as mindful or intentional about that as I could be.
The five words above are some of the first that came to mind as I started this exercise. And as I brainstormed, I found that, subconsciously, I was picturing my newborn session with baby Arielle, using it as a visual aid to inspire my descriptions.
The day I visited Claire and Arielle felt so peaceful. I'm sure Arielle cried, but I don't remember it. What I remember was the intimacy and the quiet moments. I remember feeling awestruck by the pureness and beauty of new life, the tenderness of a new mother loving and caring for her child. I remember the pride and joy in Claire's expression when Arielle (whose middle name, Noelani, means "heavenly mist" in Hawaiian) looked her in the eyes and smiled, and when she patiently humored us -- for what probably seemed like an eternity to her -- while I took a million photos of her tiny feet.
I absolutely loved this session, and I think the images that came out of it reflect that. This was my first newborn session, and the photos I took that day helped me begin to define the messages and emotions I intended to communicate with my work.