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Posted: July 31, 2014

Meet the man behind those viral ‘maternity’ photos

Austinite Justin Sylvester partnered with a local photographer for playful project

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            Meet the man behind those viral ‘maternity’ photos
Austinite Justin Sylvester poses for his own “maternity” photos.

            Meet the man behind those viral ‘maternity’ photos
Austinite Justin Sylvester poses for his own “maternity” photos.

            Meet the man behind those viral ‘maternity’ photos
Father-to-be Justin Sylvester recreated classic maternity poses for playful photo project.

By Nancy Flores

American-Statesman Staff

When Austin father-to-be Justin Sylvester came to photographer Kerri Lohmeier with an offbeat idea for a man-ternity photo shoot, she couldn’t resist the creative possibilities.

“It was too hysterical,” says Lohmeier of Harley K Photography. Sylvester’s wife didn’t think he’d do it, but he wanted to recreate some classic maternity poses — the cheesier the better.

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Sylvester’s comical photos, which poke fun at corny maternity images, blew up on social media this week, racking up more than two million views on the website Imgur. In a matter of hours, news of the goofy project, originally meant only for Sylvester’s wife, went viral with national media attention from outlets such as Cosmopolitan and MTV.

Sylvester’s photos proudly showcase his plump bare belly as he does things like eat ice cream and pose in Superman underwear while he lovingly gazes at his own gut. And you know how sweet husbands tenderly kiss their wives’ pregnant tummies? Well, Lohmeier manipulated one of the photos to show Sylvester kissing his own belly bump.

Lohmeier has been shooting traditional maternity photos for about four years but had never done a man-ternity shoot before. While her typical photo shoots are serious, she and Sylvester couldn’t keep a straight face for this one.

“We got props like ice cream, pickles, even his wife’s robe, and then used a few poses that I’ve done with women before,” Lohmeier says. “It’s awkward, of course, because he’s a man. We couldn’t stop laughing.”

The pair teamed up on a Sunday morning and knocked out the photo shoot in 30 minutes at her Central Austin home studio. “I mean, he was standing in his underwear the whole time,” she says. “It had to be funny.”

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