Jesseca Bellemare, founder and owner of The Modern Baby Co. and passionate newborn photographer, talks to us about finding that moment of calm in a whirlwind of chaos.
Asheville Newborn and Child Photographer – by Jesseca Bellemare
As the mother of three small children, a wife, entrepreneur and all around domestic diva, it’s challenging to find balance. I strive daily to live in a state of calm and presence, but life moves quickly, as do small children, dirty laundry and emails; I undoubtedly come short of my ideal state of mind more often than I will admit. Falling into a profession that demands patience, presence and a gentle demeanor has been a welcomed blessing in my active life.
I have always been a fan of photography, but I am not one of those photographers who spent their childhoodwith a camera around her neck capturing every ant and pebble. I was too busy laying in the tall grasses under a willow tree, daydreaming into the clouds. I have always loved pictures. Who doesn’t? Pictures connect us to people and places. They can be powerful, emotionally tangible pieces of our lives. In the book Expressive Photography by The Shutter Sisters I read, “Portraiture is so sacred because it is so intimate. There is something beautifully vulnerable about being seen and witnessed. How often does someone stop and stare into your eyes?” This is such a profound truth, one that resonates deeply within me. In a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected on a personal level, we rarely take the time to just look and truly see one another.Photographs offer us the space and freedom to pause and see, quite often with a fresh perspective.
While I explored a variety of artistic mediums in my adolescence and young adulthood including writing, drawing, painting, music and dance, photography was never a skill I attempted or even felt an inclination to attempt. All of that dark room business threw me off. Maybe I instinctually knew that my instant gratification tendencies would not be gratified. For whatever reason, photography did not call to me in my youth. However, in 2006 my brand, The Modern Baby Co., took flight. Consequently, seasonal collections and images of these collections were expected. I quickly realized that a professional photography service would become a continuous and quite pricey investment for the business. Because I am an avid DIY-er, because my artistically gifted husband had already been perusing photography and we therefore owned high quality gear and because the dark room had been replaced by Light Room, I threw myself into learning the skill. Little did I know that I had a natural grace and keen hunger for the art.
I began photographing my product line of baby goods, which in turn required models. I sought out and on occasion bumped into the most adorable babies. Nothing says weirdo more than approaching a mother in Marshalls, oohing and aahing over her beautiful child, then soliciting modeling services. Yeah, that was me. Highly introverted by nature, the fact that my passion to photograph motivated me enough to approach strangers spoke volumes to me on a very personal level. I knew that I was onto something pretty special, so I just kept going.
My children became the main content of my work with my friends’ children soon following. When I became pregnant with our third baby I vowed to myself to document the first two weeks of her life no matter how much discomfort my c-section recovery presented me with. This was either really stupid or rather commendable. I still don’t know which, but once I began photographing her sweet little sleepy perfection, I was hooked. Capturing her pretty pouty lips and soft creamy skin, her flexible, posable little limbs and those adorable ittsy bittsy fingers and toes hit me with such force that I instinctually knew newborn photography was the end of the road for me. I had finally found my calling, my personal comfort zone, something that stirred little hidden pockets within me and made me stop to catch my breath.
I have come to appreciate and be in awe of the patience, calm and in-the-nowness this niche demands. In the whirlwind of my everyday life I try to pause, even for just a moment, to be present; to turn off the inner chatter and the need to quickly finish the task at hand just so I can move onto the next one. This is undoubtedly a feat with small children’s untiring play, craft projects, paper airplanes and Leggos tucked into every crevice of the house, with the never ending echos of laundry, dirty dishes and meal planning calling for my attention. But when I sit in a toasty warm room surrounded by soft blankets and handmade knits, the sounds of white noise and a mother’s whispered shushes, the softness and innocent calm of a newborn baby, I become completely and totally present.
Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jbphotographyprops