For The man In February, Anne Geddes, world famous for her baby shots, portrayed twin brothers Jei and Jaxon styled by Patti Wilson.
Babies represent a new beginning, new horizons and hopes. Ann Geddes often portrays them as fairytale creatures or as flowers: her famous photos have been published in many books and have become the images of calendars and greeting cards.
“Babies between the ages of six and eight months are very charming. They just learned to sit down after lying down for the first part of their lives, so they look at the world from a whole new perspective, full of enchantment, “says the photographer.” Thinking about the cover for The Man, I wanted it to make them smile. people.”
For The Generations Issue of L’UOMO, Anne Geddes, the Queen of Baby Photography, portrayed twin brothers Jei and Jaxon styled by Patti Wilson.
Babies are a new beginning, new horizons, hope. Often portraying newborns as fairytale creatures or flowers, Geddes’s iconic photos have been transformed into best-selling books, calendars, and greeting cards.
“Babies aged between six and eight months are very charming. They’ve just learned how to sit after lying down for the first part of their life, so they look at the world from a completely new perspective, full of enchantment. ” says the iconic photographer. “Thinking of this cover, I really wanted it to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Interview with Ann Geddes by Marta Galli
When the world’s most famous talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey appeared on TV holding the first book by Anne Geddes, the doors to global success were flung open for the Australian photographer. That was more than a couple of decades ago and while you may not recognize Geddes’ name, you’re probably familiar with her images. Her photos of babies slumbering in lotus flowers, dressed as bunnies or peeking out of flower pots with their moon faces framed by petals have been published in a multitude of books, featured on countless greetings cards and calendars (at least until the latter were still hung on walls and weren’t one of the many functions of a smartphone), and have even been transformed into dolls. The enchanted world of Geddes bears a close resemblance to the fairytale imagery of the illustrator May Gibbs – author and illustrator of children’s classic Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – who took part in an Australian government campaign during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 to raise awareness on the use of face masks. “The sight of a child is enough to make us want to be better people,” says the photographer. “On set, children are the divas and everything has to be about them, because if they don’t feel happy no one else will. But they’re capable of great gifts. You just have to seize the moment. “
A naked infant on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue is quite unexpected, isn’t it?
I think a chubby baby who doesn’t care is also kind of irreverent on the cover of a fashion magazine.
Babies at that age, between six and eight months, are very charming. They’ve just learned how to sit after lying down for the first part of their life, so they look at the world from a completely new perspective, full of enchantment. Thinking of the cover on the newsstands, I really wanted it to put a smile on people’s faces.
There is a certain timeless quality in this black-and-white image.
I try to keep my images timeless, often avoiding fashion references. And the baby … there’s something universal in someone who has just come into the world. It’s purity in form. And hope. A new baby represents a new beginning, new horizons, and especially at this particular time this is what we’re all looking for.
Your almost 40-year career dedicated to photographing children is somehow unique. How did it come about?
I landed in photography relatively late. I was born in the north of Australia and I had a country upbringing on a cattle station. Photography was never presented to me as a professional option, although I have always been a visual person and I remember being fascinated by the images in Life magazine. But I didn’t seriously pick up the camera until I was 25. At that time, I had left my job in public relations to follow my husband Kel to Hong Kong and I thought: “If I want to be a photographer, this is the time.”
Did you immediately find your voice?
What happened is that for the first ten years I was doing private portraits of children, two sittings a day. During that time, I learned a lot about how to deal with them at different ages. But it took me a lot of energy to try to please someone who was hiring me to take the portrait of their child and draw out the essence of that little person so that they could say: “This is really how our child looks!” And you know, if the baby was having a bad day, there was nothing that you could do. At some point I felt frustrated, so to release that pressure I started to create an image once a month just to please myself. This is how it really started: with the picture of two chubby cabbage twins. Soon after, the greetings cards and the calendars were born and my first coffee table book, Down in the Garden, came out in 1996, becoming a New York Times best seller. Even Oprah Winfrey suggested my book on television.
These images aroused a collective euphoria. Did you expect that?
I first realized how strong my work can emotionally resonate when, in 1993, I photographed a little premature child, Maneesha. One out of nine pregnancies today in the USA ends in premature birth, and I wanted to show both the fragility and the strength of a premature baby. She weighed 2.2 pounds and she was just about to leave the hospital. Maneesha is 27 today and she’s a photographer. She even interned for me at my studio in Australia. Her story has given hope to many people. Still today, they come up to me and say: “I have your image on the refrigerator – my child is in the incubator.” It provides them with faith to believe their babies can survive too. I’m proud of the message this image conveys.