Photo show honors motherhood

Eastside resident and professional photographer Emily Helen is fascinated by the pregnant belly.

“Whenever my friends were pregnant, I’d ask if I could just photograph their belly,” Helen said.

Java Kai in Kapa‘a currently features Helen’s most recent work of mothers and babies. This is her second show at the coffee shop.

“I do all kinds of photography, but my focus is people,” she said.

The dozen or so shots include close-ups of an expectant mother’s belly as well as various portraits of women and children.

“When I photograph a mother and her child, most of the time I do not use any posing. I don’t always try to make them smile because I believe you can feel the love in a photograph when they are just being themselves.”

Her exploration, she said, was inspired not only by spring, but just being on Kaua‘i.

“Everywhere I look I see pregnant women,” she said. Helen, who is four months pregnant with her first child, moved to Kaua‘i in 2006.

“When I first moved here, everyone I’d meet I’d ask if I could take their picture,” she said.

Helen spent her first year just taking photos of Kaua‘i families she met on the streets or through friends.

“No one’s ever turned me down,” she said.

Helen is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif. For more information, visit


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