Family portraiture was once a formal affair with no space for spontaneity. Many social taboos surrounded the idea of photographing newborn babies and pregnant women. A fashion inspired maternity shoot was almost unheard of back in the day, but now everyone from A-list celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Anushka Sharma to models like Lisa Hayden want to capture and share that special moment.
Celebrated photography entrepreneur Amrita Samant who runs the venture, 'Mommy Shots by Amrita', operating out of India and Singapore, says things have changed for the better now.
Routinely helming maternity shoots, photographing newborns and toddlers, she says,"The taboo still exists in certain pockets but yes, there is less discomfort around women wanting to celebrate a pregnancy. Young mothers-to-be want to enjoy their pregnancy and they want to capture that bliss forever. Many young couples also want to capture the milestone moments of their babies because they grow up so fast! I feel privileged to be a part of such intimate experiences and feel happy that more and more families are so comfortable expressing themselves before the camera. The monotony of forced expressions is also now a thing of the past."
For young parents, such photo shoots have become a norm with social media normalising the sharing of personal moments. Also, celebrities stepping out of their comfort zone and sharing the different facets of their life, has encouraged and motivated others to celebrate their own lives in a similar way. Many mothers-to-be feel confident about posing before the camera.
Samant says:"Photography is largely about emotional bonding. The warmth I capture and communicate through my images tells a unique story every time. Even if I take pictures of different families in the same place or pose, the emotions captured are different, because each time, the family dynamics are different. I also bond instinctively with children and it was a natural choice to combine my love for babies with my passion for photography."
Samant's work went on to pioneer baby portraiture in India and she shares:"Newborn and creative baby photography has always been very popular in the West, and I wanted to carve a niche back home by capturing moments that families could treasure forever."
Before she ideated her venture, this double Masters degree holder in Human Resources (HR), was climbing the corporate ladder for over seven years. The decision to start Mommy Shots in retrospect was inevitable because she comes from a family of entrepreneurs with a strong affinity for the arts.
Today Samant travels all over India for shoots and her work has also taken her to over 10 countries. Even the pandemic did not impact her work. She says:"An emphasis on safety practices is mandatory in this industry and we have been following stringent safety measure even before the emergence of Covid-19. Now, in the new normal, we adhere to safety protocols even more strictly."
With seven years of experience in the field, what remains constant is the magic of instant connection she forms with a baby every single time. She concludes,"Moments I capture become precious because they are forever and will be cherished and looked back upon by families even after 20 years. Their culture, their lifestyle won't be just a memory from the past to be forgotten by the next generation. Their legacy will be carried forward with the help of these images. That is why every happy mother, every joyful baby, each memorable family shoot motivates me to continue preserving memories for posterity."
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