For a photography series called the Precious Baby Project, which features children with special needs in imaginative settings, photographer Angela Forker often incorporates tubes or other “accessories,” as she lovingly calls them, into the flat-lay photography designs.
The results are amazing and otherworldly scenes that seem to spring straight from a child’s dream or storybook.
“I just want to show the world that babies and people with special needs are beautiful and worthy of love,” she said.
She was inspired to create these scenes for babies with special needs after meeting a family who had a baby that only lived for 15 days due to a medical affliction. Forker took a photo of the baby, named Madalyn and the family posted a picture Forker took of her and wrote a simple, but powerful message on their Facebook page.
Forker said she will never forget Madalyn.
Forker was already a photographer for newborns, creating similar scenes of playful images, when she realized the set up would be great for babies with special needs, especially those who couldn’t sit up or who needed extra care or accessories.
Her creations are assembled from various props she’s accumulated and repurposed: a lacy fabric becomes a unicorn, a yellow tapestry a giraffe and a bunch of cotton makes up the clouds. The designs are made specifically to fit each baby, with special attention paid to varying colors and textures.
Forker sets up the designs the night before and always adds little tweaks in the morning that she said makes all the difference. Her ideas for scenes range from a racetrack to a farm to raging waves in the sea. She says as she continues to do more sessions, her imagination gets getting wilder and wilder.
Some of her favorite sessions include a pair of conjoined twins, which she connected through strings on a kite and added a photo of when they were conjoined, and a baby with a trachea and a head-shaping helmet that she made into an astronaut.
For Forker, it's all worth it to see a family place their baby in the scene.
"Most of the time their reaction is, ‘You created this just for us?’ and that’s a really great feeling.'"