This is Tamsyn.
This is Tamsyn's belly.
This fabulous mama has always thought henna was a beautiful art and so spiritual. Since she has embraced her bulbous belly throughout her first and this second pregnancy, she thought it would be a wonderful way to make an artistic feature of her life giving form which itself represents the love between herself and her husband, Jeff.
In Indian tradition, the darker the henna stains your skin, the more your husband loves you. Tamsyn's skin is very pale and the henna has previously not held its colour so well. In order to emphasize the incredible detail in the pattern, and to show off how truly smitten Jeff is with his wife, Tamsyn decided the photographs would have more impact if she allowed the dried henna to remain on her skin rather than brushing it off to reveal the stain beneath.
You may have seen my seen my last blog post showing some of my new fabrics (well the colours of them at least) in a wee thumbnail collage. They were taken from this shoot. Originally, we had booked a session to capture Tamsyn's first pregnancy in February last year. But sweet Baby Aura was keen to make her grand entrance, and so instead of waiting patiently in her mummy's tummy while I took photos, she decided to come into the world at 4:30am the morning of our shoot. At the time, I was deeply disappointed as I was so excited to capture a henna painted tummy, but now that I shot this one, I am over the moon and know this is so much better than I ever would have done last year before I had all my delicious materials to use as backdrops. And instead, I was able to capture Aura during her first days at home which was so beautiful to witness and photograph.
Tamsyn is convinced it happened for a reason too. Over the last 15 months since Aura's birth, Tamsyn has redefined the type of images she hoped for and even the day before the shoot, we planned to do very different images that what we finally did. We'd planned on classic imagery that really would have worked only in black and white. But then I found myself in amongst all those fabrics and when Tamsyn arrived the next morning, I think she had no choice than to let me channel my bubbling over excitement into her images using my textiles and creative energy.
Tamsyn and Jeff know they are having a boy this time. They will call him Micah, which is a derivative of Michael, in memory of Tamsyn's father. Sadly, he passed away 4 months before Aura was born, after fighting cancer for three years. He was his daughter's best friend and the best father she could have wished for. Tamsyn says she is so proud of who he was and what he represented in life and through his fight. She has grown so much spiritually from the ordeal and believes it prepared her to be a better mother, wife and friend. It taught her to live and love life each day... everything truly does happen for a reason, no matter how painful... and you just have to embrace life's experiences and grow with them.
A dear Indian friend Tamysn's spent two hours painting the henna on her belly, and was kind enough to loan all the amazing jewelry to complete the image.
And the best bit about the shoot is at the end, we decided to brush off all the henna as it really was starting to crumble and flake off everywhere. And was revealed beneath the thick paint was a dark rich stain, so dark that it is a sure sign that Jeff is more madly in love than even Tamsyn or henna on pale skin could have foretold.
Tamsyn - thank you for trusting my artistic eye whole heartedly and believing in me and my whims. It was so fun and I am so proud of the images we made together so thank you thank you for making it possible. Love and happy birthing. Can't wait to meet Micah. xx