Indiana-based photographer Angela Forker has become known for her elaborate baby shoots involving on-the-floor backdrops that she "paints" with fabric and other ordinary items before plopping a baby down to capture a magical image. They are breathtaking, to be sure, but something was missing.
At the start of this year, Angela did some soul-searching to figure out how she could better make a difference with her photography. "I came to realize that my 'Baby ImaginArt' scenes would be perfect for babies with serious medical conditions that prevented them from being able to sit up for a portrait," she told POPSUGAR. "Many photographers are at a complete loss in these situations!"
"For most families, these are the only professional photos they've ever had of their child."
And just like that, the Precious Baby Project was born. She began photographing babies with special needs at no cost to parents. "It all worked together so perfectly, because my theme for these scenes is, 'anything is possible!'"
Each scene takes her 20 hours: she works with the parents to conceptualize a backdrop that is inspired by their child and, depending on the interest of the family, researches how to incorporate the child's condition or accessories — any wires, cords, ports, or protective gear — into the theme. For instance, one baby was dressed as an astronaut to incorporate his helmet and trach tube as an oxygen line. Because they take so much time to complete, Angela only manages one to two shoots a month for the series (she's completed nearly 25 to date), but the gift she provides to these parents is priceless.
"For most families, these are the only professional photos they've ever had of their child," she told us, noting that many parents had never shared an image of their child on social media before this one. "These parents were not ashamed of their babies — they were simply trying to protect them from people's cruel words. But the very parents who were originally hesitant about people seeing their baby's photo were now so excited."
She hopes, however, that the power of these images extend beyond those close to the precious subjects within them. "I set out to show the world that every baby is beautiful and worthy of our love."
Take a look at a collection of images from Angela's moving series, and read a bit more about how some of these portraits came to be created.