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Journal Entry: September 26, 2016

“LaRae Atomicus”

Photo Date: 35 Weeks
Journal Date: 36 Weeks

There is no getting around it; life is messy and chaotic.

As the clock is ticking down, I’m looking at the chaos that is my life. I NEED predictability in my life. I LOVE organization and structure. I LIVE to meet my planned out goals. But alas, this last year has been an extreme lesson in learning to find a calm acceptance as nearly all plans I have made have been changed and thrown up into the air, into a place of uncertainty and unpredictability. Going through time of finding calmness and acceptance is new, strange, uncomfortable, and ultimately a complete force of change for me to my deepest core. It has not been a pleasant process, but a process that I rose to meet and accept head on. What other choice do we have when faced with such change and unpredictability in a short span of time?

During this pregnancy I’ve had to learn to be flexible with my birth plan. In the beginning, I wanted to go have an all-natural birth and to avoid a cesarean at all costs. However, as the months progressed the plan kept getting modified not by choice, but by necessity. Epidural. Pain medication plus an Epidural. Fuck it, we’ve got to schedule a cesarean. OK, the planned cesarean is now subject to happen any day over the next two weeks. We’re officially on “Baby Watch 2016” and will be having a cesarean delivery any day now. FINE. You win. I’ll be flexible about all of this and chill out, whatever it takes to bring her into this world healthy and safe. Deal?

You see, plans are actions and ALL actions affect, and are affected by, other people. My plans affect, and are affected by, little Emerson Rae who is still in the womb and has a timing all her own and a way she is deciding to do things. The doctor and I? All we have to do is make the best educated decision and help her ease into this world safely. That’s it. That’s our only job and say in this next eminent step of pregnancy and birth.

As I’ve said before, God has a funny sense of humor and totally laughs in my face whenever I have a “plan.”

Now this week’s featured photo was taken last week, so I’m obviously still behind in blogging. But I have been noticing that whenever I take a photo of the week, the topic I want to write about somehow manifests itself and matches later on, so I figure the later timing is all right with me.

A few weeks back I was challenged by my friend, Andrew, to do a maternity selfie in the surrealism realm and as I am definitely not versed or practiced in the artform, I decided to pull inspiration from Philippe Halsman’s famous portrait of Salvador DaliDali Atomicus” taken in 1948.

This is a composite of five images:

  1. The portrait of me holding the frame and the overall base image.
  2. My dog, Hayden, who sat perfectly the entire time because he’s awesome.
  3. My cat, Desmo (larger of the two cats) who allowed me to toss him into the air a total of three times before hiding and howling at the top of his lungs until I gave him a huge bowl of wet food then promptly disappeared until the next day (I don’t blame him).
  4. My cat, Mercury aka Kitten (smaller of the two cats) who let me throw her into the air twice before disappearing under the bed for hours. Both cats eventually forgave me.
  5. My customized, blinged out wheelchair from the accident last October, which I held into the frame with one hand.

I must point out that when I placed each supporting subject/layer onto the first base image, I did not move or alter them in any way. Each are in the exact placement as they were shot. I only took out the duplicate backgrounds and allowed each subject be composited onto the main base image. I skipped the water element because there was no way I could toss large buckets of water across the room – and clean it up! – by myself in my bedroom nearly nine months pregnant. So I said “screw it” and left that element out. This little piece of me “letting go” of making it exact is proof that I’ve changed my behavior of being perfect, and that “close enough” is sometimes the best way to go. I highly recommend it.

Hope this image makes you contemplate your own interpretation and understanding of what each significant element means in this photograph to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts here in the comment section or on my Instagram account @laraelobdell!

LaRae Lobdell maternity portrait selfie week #35, Miami FL, September 19th, 2016

Portrait Photographer, Writer, and Consultant LaRae Lobdell is an environmental portrait photographer, host, and instructor with over 20 years of experience photographing, directing, producing exhibits, and speaking in the photography industry. She focuses on providing artists, actors, models, and companies with lifestyle and conceptual imagery for promotional use and branding. Her approach is very contemporary, her work has a timeless elegance, and she represents the grace, distinction, and style that is possible in photography. Her curriculum vitae includes 21 photography exhibits of her own work, the curation of 15 exhibits for other artists’ and museums, the production of 13 private and community events, and two year’s experience as director of one of Seattle’s largest art walks. Her images have been published in The Huffington Post, Broadway World, Yale University Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, and even aired on the Colbert Report. LaRae’s position as a lead host for online educational giants such as CreativeLive and Polaroid University gave her the unique opportunity as one of an elite group of professionals to connect a live global audience to top renowned professionals in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, software design, productivity, and lifestyle. She brought her network to BLACKRAPID as their Culture Liaison, facilitating close working relationships between influencers and organizations for promotional sales and marketing. Grateful to be a stay-at-home mom while balancing a rewarding career in the photography industry, this proud single mom enjoys a nomadic traveling lifestyle between Seattle and the Florida Keys with her daughter, Emerson.


  • Valerie

    September 26, 2016

    I think it’s a pretty cool photo. It’s tells a story. You are strong, the dog is adorable and the cats are hilarious. I so enjoyed following your journey. You will understand God’s plan when you hold that precious baby.


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