It has taken me four months of procrastination, but I have just finished editing the photos from a newborn baby portrait session from last September.
Four months of forgetfulness, avoidance, and indecision. I couldn't decide which photos I liked, which I wanted to edit, or how I wanted the final shots to look. I was too busy with other things, and just too burned out with photo editing to bother. The mom even had to come to me and say..."uh, Kiley, I know you're busy, but remember those photos you took...?"
This isn't my normal professional behavior. I usually turn around my clients photographs within two weeks. But you see, this wasn't my normal "client", either. These photos were of my friend Rebecca and her baby Marty(pants), and these photos were special. They were the last of a long series that I started taking of Rebecca when she was 15 weeks pregnant, a series that documented her changing body and journey into motherhood, a series that grew as our friendship grew, and resulted in some of the best photos I have ever taken. These photos were also the last ones I had the privilege to shoot of this beautiful pair, before they left Qingdao to repatriate to the U.S.
It seems obvious to me now the putting off finishing the photos was my way of denying that this chapter is over, that Rebecca and Marty have moved on, and that an ocean and twelve time zones now separates me from my good friend. Although we only knew each other for two years, her influence remains. It shows most clearly in my photography, for which she patiently sat still over the course of eleven different sessions while I tested new techniques, new lighting, and new locations. But it also shows in other, subtler ways. Rebecca taught a 40-year old me to shake my booty, Latin style, as my Zumba teacher. As a devoted and confident Christian, she suffered through long discussions about faith, what it means, who the faithful are, and the loss of all faith I experienced when Miles died, all without defense or judgement. She got me hooked on Chinese massage, to the point that for a time, she and I were getting two massages a week. She is a business woman, a fashionista, a fitness instructor, a Christian, and a true friend.
I want to share some of my favorite photos from these sessions. Like this one, which I took while lying in the pool in my bikini, when Rebecca was so pregnant at 39.5 weeks that she could barely float.
Here, she is 30 weeks pregnant and still teaching Zumba 4 times a week.
Or these two, which I love for their simple beauty, taken as I was learning to wrangle off-camera flash, before her baby bump really even showed.
The photos are finally done, Rebecca. These are the last of them. I procrastinated because I miss you and didn't want our time together in Qingdao to end. With all my love.