Inclusive

Maternity shoots are a beautiful way to capture the journey of pregnancy and the anticipation of welcoming a new life into the world. While these photo-shoots have gained immense popularity, it’s important to emphasize that they should be inclusive and welcoming to birthers of all body types, including fat folks. Let’s get into why promoting inclusivity in maternity shoots is essential.

Embracing body diversity Is essential. Every pregnancy is unique, just like every body is unique. Fat folks, like any other expectant birthers, deserve the opportunity to celebrate their changing bodies and the journey they are on. Inclusivity allows for the acknowledgment and appreciation of the diverse beauty that exists among pregnant bodies.

Next let’s discuss breaking stereotypes! Exclusivity in maternity photography perpetuates harmful stereotypes about beauty and pregnancy. It sends a message that only a certain body type is worthy of being celebrated during this special time. By including bodies of all sizes, we challenge these stereotypes and promote a more inclusive and accepting society.

Inclusive Maternity Photography Can Foster Self Love and Empower Confidence

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a baby being cradled with a parent's hand on their head with a very light pink background with peach water color circles and gold glitter accents

One of the top positives for inclusive maternity photography is fostering self-love. Being pregnant is a transformative experience, and maternity photo-shoots can help birthers connect with their changing bodies.

For fat folks who may face body image issues and societal pressures, these photo-shoots can serve as a powerful tool for fostering self-love.

Of course, maternity photographs are memories to cherish. Pregnancy is a fleeting moment in time, and maternity photos are a way to create lasting memories.

Exclusivity denies fat birthers the chance to look back on this precious period of their lives with joy and pride.

Inclusive maternity shoots ensure that everyone has the opportunity to cherish these memories.

Another amazing positive of inclusive maternity photography is empowering confidence. Participating in a maternity photo-shoot can be an empowering experience.

It allows birthers to take control of their narratives, showcase their beauty, and celebrate their journey.

For fat women, it can be an especially transformative experience, helping them feel confident and empowered during pregnancy.

So across media and modeling we have seen a slight shift to inclusivity and maternity photography can lead the way by promoting industry change. Supporting inclusive maternity shoots encourages the photography and fashion industry to expand their offerings and services. It sends a clear message that there is a demand for representation of all body types in maternity photography, which can lead to more inclusivity in the future.

Christina of Big Fat Pregnancy sat down with Holly from A Queer Photog to discuss a bit about why they focus on the inclusion of all bodies in their work and how working with them is different.

We love the way Holly highlights the beauty of bodies and had the opportunity to do a mini shoot just a few weeks ago! She offers the option for nude or semi-nude maternity photos as well! Did you know that it’s perfectly legal to be naked in public in King County? Holly and I had fun thinking of the places to do some nude photography!

Maternity Photographs and Industry Change, Let’s Dig In

Question #1 | Christina: “Holly, what does photography for all bodies mean to you?”

Holly: “It means approaching photography as a tool to lift people up and honor their differences instead of using it as a device to perpetuate toxic “beauty” ideals. 

It means actively resisting the idea that there is a “right” way to be in a body and that we are all supposed to be working towards it every moment until we die.

It means seeking to serve folks of all body sizes, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and ages—so that every single person knows they deserve to be documented and celebrated.”

Question #2 | Christina: “How did you come to this work?”

Holly: “I fell in love with photography when I was a teenager and started photographing my friends for fun.

There were very rigid beauty standards in the town I grew up in, and it became apparent that most people used photography to perpetuate those oppressive standards—which was the opposite of what I wanted to do. 

I also noticed how often photographers on the internet were only showing photos of people who were white/thin/gender-conforming/etc, which meant the vast majority of the population didn’t see photography that reflected their own lived experience.

Questioning those harmful norms began my journey of focusing on inclusivity in my work.” 

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a mother and father cradling each other and a newborn on the father's shoulder with a beige background with green water color circle and gold glitter accents

Question #3 | Christina: “What is special about shooting with you?”

Holly: “I’m told that my energy and enthusiasm are very contagious!” (I can confirm this!) “There is nowhere I’d rather be than at a photo-shoot and I think that shows in the work I create. Taking pictures with me is always fun, and I like to keep the atmosphere welcoming and open. 

I do not have a rigid agenda of what the photos are supposed to look like—they are meant to help you feel good in your body and document whatever phase of life you are in. I don’t coach people to pose in ways that don’t feel true to them; I give gentle direction to help people look natural and comfortable. My goal is always to capture the way people take up space in real life, because that is where the juicy magic really is!”

You can find several of Holly’s photographs highlighted on our website and more of her work at: https://www.aqueerphotog.com/