We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Hinek and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diana, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
There are several faucets when it comes to birth photography ( or photography in general): There is a fun component, when we think about the mean to dress up or put make up on for a special occasion as a photo shoot. It can be fun and light to ‘be something or someone’ just for the camera. There is an artistic component. Depending on the angle, the light, and the expression of the subject, photography can certainly mean one thing vs another and in that sense it can be extremely subjective as often art is. But when we look at Birth photography there is a documentary part to it that is above and beyond the art and the fun. Birth photography is often not just for the sake of capturing a moment. It’s about digging deep into the essence of birth itself and create a form of representation that will impact the medical world and how birthing people across the world will identify themselves and feel seen.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My photography is known for being moody, emotional and raw. I am not afraid of dark spaces while I am always seeking for the light. My favorite scenes are the water, the beach, but also the hills and mountains where even a patch of dry grass can turn out to be a fabulous backdrop. I hold a Master Degree in Digital Imaging and Photography from the University of Westminster in London, UK. though I spent many years working in the moving pictures as a visual effect artist, Only after my first child was born, I decided to dedicate myself to creating my own business, specifically I wanted to invest my time and energy in doing something good for the community. Something that would hopefully make a change and eventually something my own children could benefit from one day from now. It was hard at the beginning, because birth photography requires lots of emotional and physical stamina and also a huge knowledge of how to photograph in the darkness and take advantage of the small light that is scarcely available. So my biggest learning curve was to keep practicing at home, with my children. Whenever I could, I grabbed my camera and photographed them in motion, asleep, in the dark and the extreme light. We end up creating a collection of invaluable memories that I have printed for them in several books. For anyone giving birth, I want them to know that each birth is unique and exceptional. It deserves to be captured, remembered and celebrated . Each birthing person is in my own eyes a divinity, no matter what the shape of birth is. I want them to know that by sharing their experience and the images from their birth, they are not only creating heirlooms for their own children and families, but they are also allowing other birthing people to identify themselves with each and various aspects of birth. This is particularly true for BPOC and BBP ( Birthing People of Color and Birthing Black People) who are subjected to systemic racism especially within the birth system. In this sense, because birth IS political, birth photography becomes the medium for underprivileged and discriminated to be seen and represented.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The West Side of Los Angeles is always fun and it has become also very hip in the last few years. Nice long strolls on the beach are always available summer or winter and with a quick Uber, it is always possible to grab bite to eat somewhere fun. Here are some of my favorite restaurants/cafes. Urth Cafe Santa Monica. Ample space to sit down and the dessert and hot drinks beverage are to die for and certainly up to European standards. Blue plate oysterette has the best fish and oysters dishes. Baby Blues if you are in the mood for southern cuisine – all the sides dishes are the secret points of that restaurant. If you want to explore vegan Cafe Gratitude in Venice or Sage in Culver City are my favorite go to. I also like to show off our local farmers markets because they not only have amazing fruits and vegetables but also incredibly tasty prepared food to go.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to my children and husband. I could never dream to leave my family in the middle of the night to go to a birth, if it weren’t for the unconditional love of my husband and the sweet and loving understanding of my children who despite being very young understand birth better than some grown up out there 🙂 I also had amazing mentors such as Lacey Barratt, who although in Australia is always a text away from me. My back up and fellow photographer friend Bree Garcia and my amazing friend and lending ear Maggie Ehrig and my spiritual guide Maura Moynihan.

Website: https://artshapedphotography.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artshapedphotography/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artshapedphotography
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/artshaped-photography-and-birth-services-santa-monica

Image Credits
Personal Image of Diana with her family is courtesy of Lacey Barratt. All other images of birth and maternity are property of ArtShaped Photography.

Nominate someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.