I used to get quite frustrated when people described and compared my images with those of Anne Geddes. I felt frustrated that the only comparison most people seemed to have to newborn images was those of Anne.
I avoided her work for so long despite loving the quality of it and the detail to perfection. I've seen her images for years, long before I even became interested in newborn photography... today for the first time I have bought one of her calendars, and researched some of her work... not just the images we are all familiar with... and you know what hits home to me... That while over the 20 something odd years she's been specialising in this field, she has had one distinctive style. (This is true for the handful of other newborn photographers I admire.)
She must draw inspiration from many varying sources, and not all amongst the world of newborn photography, outside the world of social media, and from the world around her. Of course it helps after all the years of building a loyal following she no doubt has access to many willing clients, parents who would no doubt be beside themselves having their children photographed by her.
So what did I learn? She has clearly been true to herself and her vision, her art, not becoming swept up in the world of the latest style in newborn photography, the latest trend props. She has surrounded herself with a team of affirmation, of people who no doubt have her back, a team the allow her to create her art... because it is a team... even in as far as my work is mine, I have a team behind me of inspiring women, and men. Inspiration honestly comes from the strangest of places....
So while I find myself a little swept up in the frustrations of feelings of inadequacy, foolishly allowing my inner dialogue to eat away at me over situations and people I cannot control within my industry, it comes back to this... I have to be true to myself and my art, and my VISION. My style is MINE, and my style has evolved, and grown and become unique... that is what sets ME apart from my competition, that is what clients look for.
I may have moments of self doubt, and I feel quite vulnerable in even sharing a glimpse of that with you, my public, but I am human. I have struggles, and while I believe in what I do, and believe with every inch of my being that my work is beautiful, and captures more than just a moment, it captures emotion and purity, I do have to be aware of the people I surround myself with and people who will not only have my back and fight for my reputation, those same people will call me up on a hostile word of self doubt, and will ask me the tough questions.
Now as I stare at the work of Anne Geddes with eyes of a woman, a mother, a photographer, and dare I say peer in the field, I see a woman who has stayed true to her art, believing in her work... My respect for her is great, and for the first time I look at her stunning art as inspiration, not discounting it as the only newborn work most people recognise. Because for the first time I see her LOVE in the images... and as I think of the other photographers that I look to as inspiration and as role models in this field, I see that their imagery shows that emotion too... not just a technically beautiful image.
It's only taken me twenty odd years, but I'm now discovering the beauty of Anne Geddes. Thank You for your work Anne!
And possibly what I find most intriguing... is that as I look through her work, the images that resonate with me so deeply have a connection to my style... So now while people feel the need to compare newborn work with that of Anne Geddes, I will happily take that compliment... because I feel honored to be compared to her perfection of an art form.