Destination Maternity: Alaskan, Russian, Tough, Pregnant.

"At My Signal, Unleash Hell." by Zorz Studios
“At My Signal, Unleash Hell.”
December 31, 2011
Boudoir Marathon: Be His Sexy Valentine by Zorz Studios
Boudoir Marathon: Be His Sexy Valentine
January 24, 2012

People heard I did it… A destination maternity session in Alaska. They hear the rumors of it being shot on top of an Alaskan mountain in unpredictable October, on the mom’s-to-be 9th month… They can’t wait to see… For now, I will only say it happened and the image above is real. The rest of this amazing story demands a proper visual and documentary support which will follow with time.

11/09/09 UPDATE: Maternity sessions present a natural progression for me as a photographer who shoots weddings and gains trust, pride, and love from clients. Combined with my approach to fine art portraiture, these sessions strive to create a unique imagery, filled with emotions and poetry. And when such style meets an adventurous mind living in Alaska, who is open to my passionate and daring vision, something extraordinary is bound to happen…

I flew to Anchorage, bringing bags of equipment from NY. The client’s husband and two friends teamed up to provide the much-needed support for the plans I made. Part of it was an aerial filming and photography from a helicopter. I had some epic scenes in mind… Unfortunately, we lost the helicopter a few hours before the start of that portion of session. However, we still had mountains and all the fabrics arranged for the session!  The following morning we set off on a trip to the remote Fox Island — quiet, tranquil, primeval land with the remnants of dead trees’ trunks. My idea was to contrast the the lifeless scenery with an emerging life, touching the ancient spirit with a human soul.

There were other smaller challenges, such as rain which was forecasted before my arrival but wouldn’t cancel the months of preparation and investment. Shooting with portable studio light and battery packs outdoors in the rain is troublesome but at least it did not pour. It did bring waters higher so we had to move away from my favored spot in the meadows… We continued working on the shore, then traveled to another location in Seward, later finishing that day with a small indoor session in the hotel room with a touch of glamor. A bed cover promptly served as a background. The next morning, we continued our trip to the Alyeska ski resort where we went up on a lift and slowly hiked further up, away from traffic and on-lookers. We were never certain if we could actually just shoot there so we tried to keep as low profile as possible… for 5 of us carrying a ladder and bags with equipment and props. At least we tried not to shout, an urge tough to resist in the mountains.

It was a challenging but truly successful, distinctive, and artistically fulfilling project. This is what I want to find and express in my photography. Huge thanks to everyone who was involved and assisted with this tough destination maternity session!

Main equipment used:

Hasselblad H2 with Phase One P30+
Canon 5D Mark II SLR
Hensel Pro Mini with Porty 12 Lithium Battery
Canon Speedlights 580EX

01/17/12 UPDATE. Behind the Scene Coverage

Thanks to Dmitry Stramilov from Anchorage, AK, we can look back now and peek behind the scenes to unveil some details of this unique two-day photo journey. First, check out the “Making of…” slideshow, followed by the documentary images below.

Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.


  1. Marina says:

    Very Very Beautiful:
    the combination of Hot & Cold / Red & Blue
    Very strong and very Feminine

  2. Maya says:

    What a journey! 9months pregnant, she is a trouper, to brave the altitude and the cold and look so elegant and peaceful! The images are simply like no others i have seen before- thank you again for gracing us with your wild creativity and complete dedication on the part of your clients!!

  3. Jacek says:

    Crazy and very impressive!
    Love it

  4. […] find it insane, but my first (unsuccessful) attempt involved a helicopter in Alaska during the 2009 famous maternity shoot in the snow mountains. I still did a cool coverage from the ground, but alas, the helicopter plan fell through the last […]

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