You might assume that baby photographer and geeky costume designer Rebecca Groh is a fan of Anne Geddes, the woman who made a career out of photo calendars depicting human babies in piles of flowers and vegetables. Their work is pretty similar, though Groh's baby models are more likely to be telepaths, space princesses, or monsters.
"I feel like [Geddes] really blazed the trail for future baby photographers and I'm grateful for that," Groh tells SYFY WIRE. "But I'm super-inspired by Annie Leibovitz and she's definitely who I would name as my favorite photographer."
Right up there with Leibovitz, Groh credits a lifelong obsession with Disney as another primary inspiration. "The animation, the music, the stories — it touches me in a way that should definitely show in my work," she explains. Her Disney fandom extends past her photography career, too. "I wish I could live there — right at the end of Main Street, USA in the big castle at the end. I sleep in an Alice in Wonderland bedroom full of Disney toys including a 4K piece LEGO Cinderella Castle, and my bathroom is done all in Star Wars," Groh says. "I'm inspired by all the things that make my heart go, 'Squeeee!'"
Even if "squeeee" isn't a sensation you feel often, Groh's photos might just coax the glee of you. In one, an infant dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things cradles a waffle in one chubby arm, extending the other toward the camera as if she's about to telepathically wring your neck. In a Pixar-inspired series, another baby model sleeps peacefully on a tiny bed while dressed as Sully from Monsters, Inc. Another stand-out is Baby Princess Leia, sleeping in what looks like a Cloud City hotel room with her arms around a crocheted Han Solo — all hand-made by Groh herself, of course.
"I'm the everything in my little business," Groh says. "All the photography is mine. The crochet work is mine. The designs are mine. I don't use patterns and I create everything from scratch. I'm to the point where I want to learn woodworking next to make my own wooden props and cake decorating to make my own smash cakes."
Groh has only been crocheting for five years and taught herself photography over the last four years, all while raising her son. She'd prefer to photograph her son, but now that he's eight, he's aged out of it, and isn't much a fan of having a camera in ihs face, anyway. The alternative, however, isn't always fun.
"I actually hate looking for baby models," she admits, "because whenever I announce a free shoot, the people flood out of the woodwork and it always ends with some of them being angry for not being chosen."
As for the sweet spot between baby photography and geeky-themed shoots, Groh says she was one of the first to combine them. Early on, Groh says, "a few photographers started coming to me for newborn photography sets - mostly simple bonnets and rompers and I urged them to do things that would be more fun. They told me it wasn't a thing, that there wasn't a market and that no one would pay for it. I disagreed and bought myself a DSLR so I could prove them all wrong."
Now, she says she knows she hit the jackpot because parents are beside themselves with happiness as she's shooting their kid in costume. "If I'm photographing a naked baby in a bucket, [the dads] are typically asking their wife how much longer it's going to be. If their kid is dressed like Batman, they're on the floor helping and expressing their child-like excitement. Parents have the most fun at my sessions!"
If you're a geeky new parent who wants to nab a Rebecca Groh photoshoot, you can ask her for rates, but don't assume you're walking out with her crocheted originals. "My creations are not for sale. I make them for myself and my own photography business. I am asked many times a day to sell, but at this time, they're all mine."