Missouri-based photographer Alex Bolen has a knack for capturing precious moments. From charming family photos to stunning maternity shoots, the “sparkle that everyone carries with them in their own unique way” is always the focus of her photos. As the owner of Shutter Darling Photography, she carries out a range of poignant and meaningful projects, including a recent session dedicated to mothers and their “rainbow babies.”
A rainbow baby is a child born to a woman who has previously suffered infant or pregnancy loss. Much like a rainbow after a storm, the bundles of joy represent hope and light in a time of grief and darkness. As a mother, Bolen has deep sympathy and compassion for mothers who have experienced such tragedy. “Early this year, I had my daughter Haven, and my whole pregnancy was filled with happiness ― but mainly fear,” Bolen shared with The Huffington Post. “I was a part of many online soon-to-be mom groups, where women were posting about miscarrying or suffering the loss of their babies after birth. I was petrified. As I grew into this local mom community it became apparent how magical this ‘rainbow baby’ term really is!”
Inspired by their tragic stories and unwavering strength, Bolen decided to commission a group of mothers (including mothers-to-be) of rainbow babies for a very special shoot. She shared her idea in a Facebook post and, though numerous women showed interest in participating, the first six volunteers were selected as her models.
During the touching session, Bolen shot individual portraits of the mothers with their children as well as a now-viral group photo. In the striking shot, the mothers—each clad in a gown of a different color—stand before multi-colored smoke bombs as they clutch their rainbow babies (and baby bumps). Though a tribute to lost loved ones, the image conveys each mother’s enduring optimism and undying love—a message Bolen is particularly proud of. “With all this darkness and hate going on in the world, we truly needed a little lifting up,” she said. “The rainbow term has brought together thousands across the globe and I feel pretty darn blessed to be part of that.”
All images via Shutter Darling Photography.