Food, a Pregnancy Story

Maternity portraits—even those she creates—tend to portray the “fabulous side of pregnancy,” Anca Costea says. But pregnancy is not all rainbows and butterflies. “There is one side of pregnancy that I realized is not talked about much but is so intense for a pregnant woman that it stays in her memory for years after the baby is born: the craving or, in contrast, the rejection of certain foods.” It’s the theme of Costea’s humorous, Baroque-inspired series “Cravings&Distaste.”

Costea, who hails from Bucharest, Romania, launched a model call on social media to find subjects, offering complimentary traditional maternity portraits to women who agreed to also serve as subjects in her personal project. “I chose not to use actresses playing the role of pregnant mothers, wearing fake bellies and whatnot, but real pregnant women who had a genuine rejection or pleasure of certain foods,” she says.

Many of the compositions were inspired by the models’ cravings and distastes; she called them in advance of the session to see what foods she might use for their portraits. When foods became too repetitive, Costea brought in some of the foods she’d craved during pregnancy. For example, for one session she brought in watermelon, only to find the model had the opposite reaction. “When she saw it she said, ‘Oh, God, no! I absolutely hate watermelon now!’ So I was like, ‘Perfect! This is your distaste!’” 

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.