I wonder how much Annie Leibovitz realized she was revolutionizing society’s view on pregnancy when she shot Demi Moore naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair over twenty years ago. Before that cover, pregnancy was hidden under tents posing as clothes. As if being pregnant was something to be ashamed of. Now women bare their beautiful baby bellies on the beach in tiny bikinis, and wear gorgeous body clinging dresses to formal events. That Vanity Fair cover launched a change in society that led to the emergence of pregnancy as art and acceptance. I believe women were always proud of their pregnant body. They saw it as a miracle. Couldn’t wait to see how it grew. And marveled over it every day. But it wasn’t till an artist came along, and though it seems strange to say, was brave enough and talented enough to highlight the significance of this truly remarkable period in a women’s life, were women allowed to revere in this special moment of their lives. And this led to the emergence of a new art form – maternity photography.
Of course artists will always push the limits and the recent maternity photographs and video of Kim Kardashian pregnant in a fashion shoot by Karl Lagerfeld has certainly raised a few eyebrows. On viewing the photographs and watching the video I feel conflicted. I can’t say I found them particularly beautiful or original or dynamic. But I am not a fashion virtuoso. I am an artist. And I didn’t find many of the photos very artful. I thought they were more about pushing the envelope. What I did like about them was the fact they actually chose a pregnant women to fashion clothes. More because it leads to the notion that all body shapes are fashionable. If that was the reason they shot the images then I applaud them. If it was just a publicity stunt then I can’t say it was anything other than a little vexing. Annie Liebovitz and Demi Moore were truly revolutionaries who galvanized a society.
What I did find noteworthy about this article in the NY Post in which magazine editor Carine Roitfeld defends the photographs of Kim Kardashian she placed in her magazine, was the fact that she hopes Kim Kardashian will have the pregnancy photographs as “a good souvenir.” And this is at the heart of the matter with all pregnancy photography no matter your taste or style. Being pregnant is a momentous time in a women’s life, and a moment in time all women should have a keepsake of.