It can be difficult to get your maternity shoot to stand out in a sea of flowing fabrics and serene smiles, but one expectant mother has found a new styling technique that hasn’t quite made it to your Pinterest boards yet: covering yourself in tens of thousands of bees.
Emily Mueller of Akron, Ohio, recently staged a shoot in which she had approximately 20,000 bees — apparently the standard quantity of bees — swarming her pregnant belly and crawling all over her hands. Photographer Kendrah Damis captured the moment in all its buzzy, mildly terrifying glory:
Mueller, who’s expecting her fourth child, runs Mueller Honey Bee, a company which conducts bee-removal services that still leave the hives intact and the bees alive.
“Bees represent life and death,” she told Cleveland.com. “We’ve had three miscarriages, so these pictures are dedicated to life and death, to all of the children we’ve had.”
As to why she can be virtually covered in bees without it turning into a Wicker Man scenario, the site explains “before bees leave their hive to follow their queen, they eat so much it makes them sluggish, and with full abdomens, they can’t bend to sting.” (Basically, just picture yourself trying to get any work done after you’ve just eaten a huge lunch.)
Best of luck to Mueller and her 20,000 bees. For everyone else reading at home, maybe skip the bees and stick with the standard belly kiss shot.