Baby photos are often swoon-worthy, but the unique newborn photos taken by Jocelyn Conway will make your heart absolutely melt.
The U.K.-based photographer takes photos of newborns nestled in “bump bowls” — casts made from their mothers’ pregnant bellies — offering a poignant reminder of the baby’s first home, and a symbol of the strong connection between mother and child. Her beautiful photos are now (unsurprisingly) going viral.
In addition to being a longtime photography enthusiast, Conway was also a midwife for 20 years before launching her photography business in Liverpool almost 10 years ago. Because of her experience with both pregnancy and birth, newborn photography was a natural fit. “Newborns are second nature to me after my midwifery career,” she tells Babble.
After taking a life casting course four years ago, Conway began brainstorming ways to combine her newfound casting skills with her photography business, and the “bump bowl” was born. Since February 2015, she has been casting pregnant women, typically around the 34 to 36-week mark, and then using the cast of their pregnant belly as a nesting bowl for the baby to settle into during a newborn photo shoot.
The results are simply beautiful.
While the casting process itself is relatively short, taking only about 15 minutes, Conway takes several precautions. “[Due to] my midwifery experience I watch the mums closely and if I think they are a bit unsteady on their feet I advise them to sit for the cast.” She usually does the casts with the mother standing in front of a chair if they are feeling well enough; if not, otherwise she will do the cast with the mother seated. Additionally, for the safety and comfort of the baby during the photo shoot, each image is created as a composite of multiple photos with the bowl and newborn constantly supported.
Not surprisingly, the bump bowls have been a huge hit. “The mums love the bump bowls,” she tells Babble. “They love seeing their new baby back in the bowl afterwards, and the babies love being in them. They usually fall fast asleep. It’s lovely.”
Not only is Conway’s “bump bowl” business booming, but she was also named Bump to Baby Photographer of the Year for 2015 by The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, and she has even done the occasional celebrity casting and photo shoot.
“One of my most memorable bump bowl casts and newborn photo shoot was with Coleen Rooney,” shared Conway. (Coleen Rooney is the wife of Wayne Rooney, the captain of both Manchester United and the England national soccer team.) “She tweeted a lovely photo of her completed bump bowl.”
A mother of five adult children and married to her husband for twenty-five years, Conway enjoys helping families preserve their memories. “My favorite part about photographing newborns is producing beautiful images that the parents can keep forever,” she tells Babble. “It’s making memories for the family for generations to come.”
You can view more of Jocelyn Conway’s amazing work on her photography website.