Photos by Brandon Hill
Zooming down the street on a motor scooter, tightrope walking across his crib railing, and popping handstands on the kitchen counter are just some of amazing stunts that Maddex, a 1-and-a-half-year-old from Seattle, has mastered — with a little help from his commercial-photographer father and the magic of Photoshop editing.
“I’m inspired by his personality and the infant-to-toddler transformation,” shutterbug dad Brandon Hill, 35, tells Yahoo Parenting. “This is my first child, and it’s fascinating how quickly they go from a small feeding machine that doesn’t know why it had to leave the womb, to a wide-eyed child that wants to discover everything at once. Once they know how to do something, they can’t unlearn it, which is exciting and terrifying. His personality is definitely on the daring side and he doesn’t seem to believe in risk. So the series is a heightened reflection of his and my experience.”
The images have created a buzz every time Hill rolls out a new one on Instagram, where he has more than 25,000 followers.
“Levitating baby. Now I’ve seen it all,” wrote a fan on the latest Maddex shot, which has him “balanced” on the edge of his crib. Other gushing sentiments: “fantastic,” “so awesome,” “j’adore,” and “brilliant.”
Hill’s creative process is similar to how he approaches advertising or editorial jobs. “It begins in my head, and I think about what would be terrifying as a parent to walk in on,” he says. “After an initial sketch, I map out the location. So in his bedroom scene I made sure to compose the shot and place the camera without him. I then take photos of the room or environment and that allows me to paint the picture in my mind, adjust lighting and do everything I need to do before brining him in the scene. I’ll take photos as well to establish a background shot.”
Then either a photo assistant or Hill’s wife, who works as a marriage and family counselor, brings in the star of the shot and helps him strike his pose.
“They will hold him securely and I photograph about 75 to 100 shots if I can,” Hill says. “From there I’ll select the best shot of his body and expression, and then digitally remove the assistant holding him. Some take longer than others and I’ve become more obsessive with perfection. It’s a heightened reality, but I want it to look disturbingly realistic.” Mission accomplished.