Over the past few months I’ve been working towards my Masters in Photography. As part of my studies I have been developing the Body Confidence Project. It has morphed through several forms now as I have explored how photography can be used to boost a woman’s confidence. I have merged photography with coaching, art, craft, positive visualisations and more.
The Pregnancy Bubble
Along the way I have discovered that many women experience a period of time during their pregnancy where they feel free from life’s usual pressures of body image. I’ve called this experience the Pregnancy Bubble and have been doing a lot of research into this phenomenon. My current models are experiencing the Pregnancy Bubble or would like to be. The current goal of the project is to see if this style of photoshoot can benefit participants in the long term. The session is entwined with body confidence building tools that participants are encourage to use. And the hope is that together they can extend the body confidence experienced in the bubble, beyond pregnancy.
For the Body Confidence Project I’ve created a space where participants are free to celebrate their pregnant self in all their glory. Participants are completely in charge of the first part of the session. They pose and style themselves as they wish. Anything goes and there is no wrong approach! It’s a creative space to play in, and the more expressive participants are, the more chance we have of creating something truly unique.
I really want my participants to be able to move beyond the regular maternity portraits that we see so much of on Instagram. I want them to take the opportunity to express themselves and be empowered.
Once participants have experimented we upload the work and then choose their favourite images to take to the next stage. The disasters go no further and are seen by no one else so there really is no risk to exploring and trying out ideas. Then we return to the studio and I perfect their pose and the studio lighting for the chosen images and they are photographed again. This time both with digital and film cameras.
Taking the work into the darkroom and using traditional print methods has been really exciting. Each piece of work created is a one off and there will never be another exactly like it. Everything also has to be exactly right in camera, there is no photoshop tweaking afterwards. Working in this way has had an impact on all of our regular studio shoots too. I’ve realised we have become far too reliant on photoshop to fix issues that could be sorted in the real time of the photo shoot. Tissues and baby wipes are now always to hand for those snot and dribble dramas!
I am really excited at how this project is developing.The feedback has been so positive and my participants have found the experience really empowering. I’m now experimenting with bringing other elements into the photoshoot to boost my participants creativity. I can’t wait to see where this project goes next.
Take Part in the Body Confidence Project
If you are pregnant and you would like to take part in this project, please get in touch via Facebook messenger. There is no charge to participate. Participants are given a complementary image from the shoot. And the opportunity to come and enjoy a traditional maternity shoot, or newborn shoot as well. The next date for these sessions is 20th March.