I always seem to find a form of magic whenever I am photographing a mother-to-be. I have also been lucky that the ones I have photographed have all been very beautiful. Or is it luck? Maybe it’s that glow that (happily) pregnant women are supposed to have…
I headed to Hale’iwa, on the famous North Shore of O’ahu, on that day to meet with my friend and talented model & actress Jackie Seeley. I hadn’t seen her in a little while, so I had been left speechless when I found out that she was 8 months pregnant. Can’t get distracted for a second that here comes a surprise!
She had made arrangements with some friends of hers who own one of the many small taro fields, called a Lohi in Hawaiian, in her neighborhood. Taro fields are always beautiful when small, and stunning when large. Yet this one was within a small private garden, so it was a particularly sweet spot.
Taro, or Kalo, a tuber similar to a large potato, is grown in nearly all the world’s tropical regions, but has its strongest ties with Hawai’i, and is mostly grown in wetland.
That day the taro plants were at just the perfect photographic height, and Jackie thought nothing of stepping into the muddy water. We spent quite a bit of time shooting in the Lohi and lush surrounding garden before heading out to capture the last splash of sunset by the ocean.
It was only afterwards, as I was taking the images through the editing process, that I noticed the water theme interweaving in this shoot: the amniotic fluid nurturing the baby in the womb, the water in which the taro grows, and the ocean. I’m surprised we did not get caught in the rain.
All these images have been shot using available natural light with my Nikon D2X set on a Manfrotto 055XB tripod with 484RC2 head. For the images in the taro field I had a friend hold a photographic lighting reflector. Jackie was wearing no make up of any kind except maybe a little lip balm.
Pueo, a beautiful little girl, was born a month later.
About Monica Schwartz: Monica Schwartz is an Italian expat and professional photographer living in Hawai’i. She specializes in portrait, food and travel photography and shares her work, explorations and passions through her website and three blogs which all interlink with one another. You can start from any one and you will find the rest.