Baby Zeniq

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This portrait of Baby Zeniq was only possible a day after he was born. He came to this world late in the evening so I couldn’t have possibly made it to the hospital for a First Day Portrait. Zeniq is eager to see the world.

Among the babies I’ve met so far, he is the most inquisitive. He’s always scanning his surrounding with his beautiful eyes when he is not sleeping. Check out his stylist hairstyle and that cute side burn too.

A.i hopes the best for every newborn and since there’s a ‘yi’ in Zeniq’s chinese name, we hope his potential artistic talents would benefit the world he is so keen to see. Bless you Zeniq.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Wesley, Denise and Baby Lucius.

Here is an image of Wesley, Denise and a 3-days-old Baby Lucius before they set off from TMC to bring Lucius home for the first time. It was about three months ago.

Honestly speaking, I struggled with this image, revisiting it countless times in post-production. And even as I was writing this, I stopped and went back to re-edit it, correcting the colours, once more. Initially, I had thought that Black & White would be nice here but after going through a few versions, I find that it could be overly dramatizing and went back to colours instead for a much more natural look.

While it took ten months for a baby to be born, this image took three, much like a cheetah. The reference came to mind only because of a recent documentary on cheetahs that I’ve watched.

The planning and capturing of this shot took much less time. Before this was taken, I had it in my mind that I wanted dad, mum and baby to be intimately close in the picture sharing a moment together. I thought about using natural light from the window but it was raining that day. The next option is to use the yellow/orange ceiling light, and this spot at the corner of the room is perfect to frame the shot with.

A few minor adjustments were made to ensure the curtain and cushions were proper and I made Wesley and Denise sit really close to each other. They were really in a “tight spot”, literally speaking. Other than that I just ask of them to relax and talk to each other. This image was one of many shots. Some had them laughing and looking at each other while sharing a joyful moment, and some are of them smiling and interacting with Baby Lucius.

This shot, however, was what I was really looking for. It has a sense of unspoken serenity and telling quality to it. It’s a little difficult to describe. I’ll try my best here. I like the way Wesley was smiling proudly while looking at Lucius. And I especially like Denise’s motherly expression as she cradles Lucius. What happened in this moment just felt very right.

Do you share my sentiments?

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Princess Ulfah

A princess, that’s who she is. In the eyes of her dad and mum and family no less, Ulfah is a princess. I think that is one of the reason why ‘princess’ is in her name, written in Arabic. The celebration for her Cukur Rambut (hair shaving ceremony symbolising cleansing) and baby shower was just held over the weekend. This photo was to be my gift to her mum and dad.

She is the first baby girl (previously all boys) that I’ve had the honour to photograph and also by far the most challenging newborn to photograph. Let me explain why. This was the first time that I’ve taken a First Day Portrait of a newborn, whose mother I’ve only met and spoke with for the first time. Her mum’s name is Nina, and her dad, Firdaus. Although Firdaus is my friend, I’ve only seen Nina once before and that was on their wedding day. Nina is a stranger to me as I’m a stranger to her so it does feel a little awkward that you’re photographing someone’s precious little baby just hours after she was born.

Adding to my level of stress was the fact that her dad, who is also a photographer, had shown me a stunning picture of Ulfah that he had taken with his iPhone. And in the same room with me were the grandparents, relatives, and two of my friends. There were many eyes on me as I tried to calm my nerves and focus on the task at hand.

Back to the photo that Firdaus had shot, which was a picture of Ulfah with her eyes brightly opened, and taken just perhaps a couple of hours after she arrives, someone asked the question, “How do you take a (nice) picture like that?” Nina answered wittingly, “Well, you got to be her dad.” The room filled with laughter.

I spent about half an hour observing Ulfah. The awkwardness only grew. I was looking for an expression, something magical and I began to doubt whether it could actually happen. Somehow, I felt the anxiousness of the people around me as they could only hear the sounds of my camera shutter. My shots were awkward too, as Ulfah was certainly not making it easy for me. She kept a very stern and serious look, with her eyes seemingly frowning and her lips pouted. Her dad would joke, “Why so serious?”

As I never like to disturb babies while they sleep, I did not attempt to alter Ulfah’s sleeping position, opting to let it look natural, and continue to wait for the moment. And this was the shot. Why? Because she looks most like a princess here; a beautiful Arabic princess. Princesses never make things easy, do they? ; )

God bless Princess Ulfah and family.

Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy

Baby Lucius

How soon do you think this First Day Portrait of Baby Lucius was taken?

Mummy Denise gave Baby Lucius a really nice name. Lucius meaning “light” or “to shine” also goes well with the characters of his Chinese name, which has the word “Sun”. May Lucius live up to his name and brightens everyone in his life like the warm rays of the Sun.

(Photography Andy Post-Process Andy Words Andy)

Baby Sean

Baby Sean came into this world on 6th January 2010. His talent could very well be dancing.

I was up at Clarence and Sandra’s place on the evening of Sean’s 22nd day. Sean had stay up throughout the night before so he was sound asleep when I arrived. While my objective was to take pictures of newborns while they were sound asleep, Clarence and Sandra were adamant to wake Sean up for the shoot and tried ways and ways to get the chubby baby to open his eyes. Naturally they couldn’t of course so we decided to break for dinner and I took the opportunity to have a good chat with Clarence whom I have not met in a long while.

While Clarence and I chatted, Sandra did her magic and Sean was up. I spotted this rubbery blue mat which had these lovely cubic patterns and decided to use it as a backdrop. The parents then left Sean on the mat. Up until this point, all of us, including the grand-parents still do not know what to do with him. What could make things special? And just like magic, I think Sandra played a musical CD and Sean started moving. He was throwing his little fists and kicking his little feet. Sean was starting to dance. He was grooving to the music and he is enjoying it. He doesn’t seem capable of stopping as he showed us moves after moves. I was left with no choice but to hold on to the shutter that went click, click, click and click. A star was born.

Thank you Sean. You delighted us. You showed us how to dance.

(Photography by Andy / Post-processed by Andy / Text by Andy)