Having professional photos of your baby is little perk of parenthood, but it might feel out of reach if your child is born with a rare or serious disease.
That gave Indiana photographer Angela Forker an idea: She could offer her services for free and make whatever accommodations were needed to photograph babies with health problems. Special equipment, like feeding tubes, were not a problem. And Forker’s work goes beyond just a simple portrait; she builds elaborate sets for the children who are part of her Precious Babies Project.
Inspired by photographer Adele Enersen, Forker has been staging the special portraits since 2017. She never seems to run out of ideas and has photographed a baby floating in the basket of a heart-shaped air balloon; a baby on safari with friendly giraffes; a baby making friends with a zebra, the animal icon for rare disease patients; and a baby in a superhero pose with a feeding tube peeking out of her costume.
The COVID-19 pandemic threatened the project, but after a year, she was able to restart.
“There were months I wondered if we would ever be able to photograph babies with special needs again,” Forker said.
With additional safety measures, she was able to continue. Her recent work includes a fairy princess baby inside a sparkling snow globe; a baby boy holding a marshmallow over the fire in a cozy campfire scene; and a smiling tot riding the back of a gentle dinosaur.
Forker has photographed more than 90 children as part of the Precious Babies Project and she plans to keep going.
“I hope to be able to continue this project,” she said, “and show the world that babies – and people – with special needs are beautiful and valuable.”