The Pregnancy Photographer
I read Linda Aitchison's light hearted article
on her horror of pregnancy photography with a sinking heart. Haven't we moved on yet? Yes, Demi Moore shocked the world with her Vanity Fair cover... in 1991. Twenty one years ago.
And blame Demi Moore? Please - shouldn't every feminist in the land be saluting her? Yes, OK I may be biased - I've been married to The Pregnancy Photographer
for a very long time, after all. But at its heart, this really isn't about the photography. It's about something far far older - something we should all know, and yet seem to have collectively forgotten.
Last year, in the beating heat of a French summer, I dragged the family to visit Roc Aux Sorciers, a much-longed-for visit to a rock shelter in a cliff high above a river in the Vendee where beautiful prehistoric carvings can be seen. Placing my hands on one of the 'Three Graces', 17,000 year old carvings of female torsos, what did I feel?
A pregnant stomach.
No question, no doubt. The shape of the rounded bump under my hands oh-so-achingly familiar.
Clearly revered and honoured, carved in love and awe by a prehistoric man or woman, on display for the whole community to admire.
Yet in a 'modern' society in which all taboos seem to have been lost, you still see an expression of baffled horror when you mention having a pregnancy portrait, whilst hearing "oooh, you're brave!"
We can't help it, manipulated by societies expectations. Historically, society asked us to stay at home, wear a loose tent, and don't for heaven's sake let's, you know, talk about it in polite society.
Gradually there's been a sea-change, and society has accepted that pregnant women are probably quite normal after all – maternity wear
is desirable, pregnant women are continuing to work, and the bump is finally out of the kitchen.
Pregnancy has, in fact, become rather glamorous. And while that has got us out of the house and into some pretty clothes, it hasn't helped so much with our body image. Instead of being hidden, we're now constantly shown images of pregnant film and music stars with their most glamorous of outfits, faultless hair and make up, and (naturally) the perfect pregnant body. As a result, we of course look in the mirror and just don't seem to match up.
But you know - that bigger, rounder, softer you? Hell, it's gorgeous too.
HOTmilk Lingerie created an almighty fuss
when they launched their sexy range in New Zealand, with the national press querying whether the catalogue wasn't soft porn. HOTmilk soon realised it wasn't the images of women in sensual lingerie that were the issue – it was the fact that the models were pregnant.
I know, shocking thought.
Sexy pregnant women?
Is that allowed?
Pregnant women being, you know, confident in their bodies?
Wearing sexy bras and knickers?
So – how about you? The baby is due in weeks, everything aches, pretty clothes won't fit, you're crying at animal rescue adverts and addicted to the Baby Channel's Real Birth shows. Why in the name of all things sensible would you choose to be photographed?
Well, really, why not?
You wouldn't hesitate to have photographs of your wedding day. Of your new baby's smile.
Why? Because those are the tiny, fleeting moments you want to grab onto.
Is pregnancy not one of the very biggest of the biggies? Of course it is.
Pregnancy portraits may be the latest tick box on the very best pregnancy To Do Lists; but actually, probably accidentally for most, it is so much more than a trendy tick on that list.
A professional pregnancy photographer will ensure your images are beautiful and flattering - and a long way from what you expect to see.
The Pregnancy Photographer
They will look after you, and ensure your images are beautiful, flattering, a little daring, a little sexy - and about as far removed as you can get of that shot your partner took of you one evening in your dressing gown, exhausted and curled around a mug of tea.
Looking at the images of pregnant you - strong, beautiful, sculptured and amazingly feminine (and, yes, glamorous too) will change your perception of yourself.
Having a baby is an amazing thing, and pregnancy photography helps you see past the rounder, wider, softer body you avoid in the mirror, and see the intensely brilliant, gorgeous woman you are.
As Amy wrote recently after viewing her images "I, as a pregnant woman, feel beautiful again".
And of course, the more people do it, the more we see these portraits hanging in houses, the more 'normal' they become – and the more we break down that pregnant body taboo that should have been consigned to the archives long long ago. We clearly knew this 17,000 years ago.
How did we forget?
- Victoria Beckham
After publicly announcing she <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/01/victoria-beckham-posing-nude-and-pregnant-thats-not-me-says/" target="_blank">wouldn’t be stripping off </a>for the camera while pregnant, David Beckham took this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/07/david-beckham-shares-intimate-picture-of-pregnant-victoria-baring-bump/" target="_blank">quick snap</a> of a very pregnant Posh, apparently without her knowing anything about it. Hmm, all looks a bit staged to us…<br />
<strong>Victoria says:</strong> ‘I'm so proud to be pregnant and I feel so blessed and so happy, I really do. I won't be taking my clothes off. I don't think anyone needs to see that, other than my husband.’</p>
- Demi Moore
The original and best, this is the pose that sparked a thousand copies in magazines around the world, starring everyone from Danielle Lloyd to Christina Aguilera, Britney and erm, Lisa from Steps. This iconic piccie of mum of three Demi is still gorgeous all these years later.</p>
- Sienna Miller
Heavily pregnant Sienna<a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/07/heavily-pregnant-sienna-millers-nude-portrait-unveiled-artist-jonathan-yeo/" target="_blank"> posed for a nude painting in 2012.</a> Artist Jonathan Yeo painted Sienna shortly before the arrival of her first baby, Marlowe, as part of a series of portraits, including Nicole Kidman and model Erin O'Connor. </p>
- Jessica Simpson
Jess posed for ELLE magazine shortly before giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell Drew. She showed off her <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/03/07/pregnant-jessica-simpson-does-a-demi-and-poses-nude-expecting-a-girl/" target="_blank">enormous bump</a> while confirming speculation she was expecting a little girl. </p>
- Carla Bruni
Carla was <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/12/pregnant-carla-bruni-shows-off-baby-bump-in-itsy-bitsy-bikini/" target="_blank">papped frockling on the beach </a>with husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The First Lady is rumoured to be expecting twins, but showed off a pretty neat bump in her stylish two piece.</p>
- Mariah Carey
While twins <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/04/mariah-careys-twins-names-revealed/" target="_blank">Moroccan and Monroe </a>were still tucked up in Mariah’s belly, she took the opportunity to proudly show off her expanding tummy, by <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.ukphpmyadmin.parentdish.co.uk/2011/03/29/mariah-carey-paints-her-baby-bump/" target="_blank">painting it </a>to make a colourful butterfly. A bit odd, but you can just imagine Mariah grinning from ear to ear when she posed for this lovely snap.</p>
- Rachel Zoe
Stylist to the stars, Rachel let it all hang out with some ill-fitting maternity togs when she was expecting son, Skyler. The sheer material on the top showed off her rounded tummy, and, call us old fashioned, but flashing your bra when pregnant isn’t the greatest look ever, right?</p>
- Jessica Alba
Here’s Jess flaunting her fabulous seven-month bump in a strapless number (but with handy sarong to keep eyes off her no-doubt expanding bottom). She was on the sand with daughter Honor, three.<br />
<strong>Jessica says:</strong> ‘I can't ever get down to the weight I was before I had Honor/ My body's just different. The jeans just sort of zip up differently, and things hang differently. It's a miracle what happens, but you definitely are different afterward.’</p>
- Selma Blair
Sporting a cowboy hat and colourful bikini, pregnant Selma headed to the coast for a bit of sunshine. The Hollywood actress looked stunning as she pottered along the beach with boyfriend, Jason Bleick. </p>
- Danielle Lloyd (again)
Re-offender Danielle showed off her curves long before that nude photoshoot. Here she is flashing the flesh on a beach in Portugal. The mum-to-be tweeted while she was on her hols saying she was having a lovely time, but felt like a whale! Well, she certainly looks good on it…</p>
- Tori Spelling
Now a mum of four, Tori Spelling <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/31/pregnant-tori-spelling-looks-blooming-in-a-bikini-on-the-beach/" target="_blank">hit the beach </a>baring bump number three in this simple black bikini, and of course, enormous shades across the pond in Malibu.<br />
<strong>Tori says:</strong> ‘I have actually been much sicker this pregnancy than the other two. I have been nauseous for three months straight. It's starting to get better now, thank goodness. And, I'm showing way more too.'</p>
Supermodel Gisele hit the beach <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/05/pregnant-gisele-bundchen-shows-off-her-bumper-in-teeny-bikini-video/" target="_blank">eight months into her second pregnancy</a> at the end of 2012. She was hanging out in an animal print bikini in Miami without a swollen ankle, sweaty brow or under-eye bag in sight. <span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: helvetica, arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;"> </span></p>
- Danielle Lloyd
Now a mum for the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/13/danielle-lloyd-gives-birth-to-second-son-10-weeks-early/" target="_blank">second time, </a>Danielle bared all just days before giving birth in this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/11/pregnant-danielle-lloyd-goes-nude-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">naked photoshoot </a>for Closer magazine, wearing just earrings and a sparkler on her finger.<br />
<strong>Danielle says:</strong> ‘I couldn't wait to recreate Demi Moore's naked pregnancy pose. It makes me feel so sexy! I don't think your baby bump should be hidden under baggy clothes – it's beautiful and I'm proud of it!’</p>
- Jenny Frost
Jenny <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/14/jenny-frost-twin-pregnancy-is-hard-without-my-mum-here-to-share/" target="_blank">posed for Closer magazine</a> as she neared her due date with non-identical twin girls. Ex-Atomic Kitten star Jen showed off her bumper belly, and told the magazine she was enjoying her new shape, saying: "Being pregnant is a time when some women can feel insecure, but Vinnie has kept me feeling great about myself. I've got a nice big belly, but I've not put on too much weight elsewhere apart from my bum, which I quite like."</p>
- Nell McAndrew
TV personality Nell <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/22/pregnant-nell-mcandrew-gets-naked-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">posed nude for Now magazine</a> when she was seven months pregnant. She said she couldn't understand people who were against pregnant women showing off their bodies, telling the mag: "<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Unfortunately there are still some really old-fashioned views about pregnancy out there. But although I was pretty nervous stripping off, I soon felt empowered - pregnant bodies are amazing and I'm incredibly proud of these pictures."</span></p>
Beyonce was snapped in a gorgeous white bikini <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/09/08/beyonce-does-pregnancy-a-list-style-in-bump-baring-bikini/" target="_blank">five months into her pregnancy</a> with Blue Ivy. She enjoyed a holiday aboard a luxury yacht with husband Jay-Z. </p>
- Imogen Thomas
When glamour girl Imogen announced she was pregnant, we knew it wouldn't be long before she stripped off for a Demi-style shoot. And look! We were right! Here she is eight months pregnant with her first baby. </p>
Singer Shakira <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/17/shakira-tweets-naked-baby-bump-photo-in-aid-of-unicef/" target="_blank">stripped off at eight months pregnant </a>to raise funds for UNICEF. She also hosted an online baby shower to raise money for the charity. </p>