I love each and every one of my portrait sessions, but every now and then, there is a session that truly inspires me, wether because of the family’s story, their request, or something new that I discover or capture during the session. This was one of those portrait sessions.
When Salma (Obi’s mama) called me, she told me a little about their family. She said that they are from Africa, they are an older couple and are very excited about having Obi in their lives because their older children are now 21 and 23, and they would like to have a newborn portrait session to capture this special milestone. During our phone consultation (before the shoot) we were talking about the colors for the session, and I asked about baby’s skin tone to prepare the color pallet, and Salma said with her beautiful African accent: “He’s skin is dark, he is very dark.” I loved haring that! I have photographed babies of many different ethnicities, but hadn’t had a chance to work with a family from Africa, and photograph a baby with truly dark skin tone. This was such an inspiration. It immediately got my mind rolling with different ideas for the portrait session.
It turned out beautifully and I am very proud of the results. Some of these images are my new favorites and one is now a centerpiece at the studio. But more importantly, I am happy to have met this beautiful family. Their kindness and gracefulness were a very big part of the inspiration.
They are writing notes for me to include in Obi’s photo album. When I read what Salma wrote for her baby, I got a little emotional. With her permission I want to share the beautiful notes she wrote for her son. There is so much love in these words, I think every parent could relate to it no matter what religion they are.
“My beloved son Obianefo,
Words cannot express the joy and love I feel as I look at you. I was overjoyed and so thankful to Yahweh our God, when the doctor’s office told me I was carrying you. You are a gift from God almighty our God Jehovah Jireh to me. Since you have been here, I sing to you every morning filled with joy and gratefulness to God our maker.
Praying over you a few times is a daily ritual. O my love only if words could express the love I feel. Oh the love in my eyes, the feeling of warmth in my heart when I look at you. No surprise, I wake up in the middle of the night to listen to your heartbeat and kiss you. O how I love you.
As our faithful God gave Samuel to Sarah so did He give you to me. Do not ever go against our maker our Lord and master. I ask that you seek, worship and serve Him diligently with all your heart, mind, being and soul.
My love for you can’t be quantified. I didn’t remember I could love so much.
May God almighty grant you peace, joy, love, wisdom, all the days of your life; as goodness, mercy and favor also pursue you all the days of your life, and you shall dwell in the presence of God forever and ever. Amen.
Nyame Nhyira wo!!
I love you, Medofo Obianefo Adnan Okonkwo.”
Salma, her husband and little OBI came to the grand opening of the new studio. My friend Jodie Myers filmed the event and did little interviews. To see the video and what Salma said about their newborn portrait experience, CLICK HERE.