In Memory Of Madalyn: Photographer Launches Project For Babies With Special Needs

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Madalyn Solis didn’t have much time on this earth. But her porcelain skin and dark, glistening hair were beautiful. Her tiny hands and feet were precious.

For 15 days, Madalyn brought laughter and joy to her family. Born with a rare genetic condition, a cleft lip and a plethora of other health issues, she was treated at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Inside the hospital, Angela Forker came to photograph little Madalyn. When the photos were posted to social media, the response was overwhelming.

“You couldn’t help but fall in love with her,” says Forker, owner of Precious Baby Photography. “And I wanted the world to see how beautiful she was.”

Madalyn died in December, but Forker couldn’t get that sweet baby off of her mind. Each day, as she photographed other tiny lives, her heart was being pulled to do something more.

Less than a month ago, in honor of Madalyn, Forker launched the Precious Baby Project – which features babies with varying special needs.

The reaction has been heartwarming, says Forker. She recently photographed Tuck Steury, a baby missing his left arm from the elbow down.

Forker incorporates her ImaginArt Baby Scenes, colorful and elaborate scenes that can take anywhere from four to 10 hours to set up, in most of her photos.

For Tuck, he was dressed like a farmer and surrounded by a red barn and all sorts of animals.

“Sometimes, you have to change your view of what you thought beautiful was,” Forker says. “These lives are beautiful and they are precious.”


Forker, of New Haven, Ind., hasn’t always been a professional photographer. She and her husband are pastors and -- until five years ago -- were missionaries in Germany and Italy. 

While in Europe, Forker took hundreds of photographs. When she returned to the United States five years ago, she delved even deeper, dabbling in baby photography – using her grandson as her subject.

“I loved it so much I wanted to try a little more,” she says. “I started taking pictures of any newborn I could get my hands on.”

Forker took courses learning creative lighting and tricks to photographing newborns. Three years ago, she started her company, Precious Baby Photography.

The Precious Baby Project, however, isn’t to make a profit.

“I just had it in my heart I wanted to do this,” says Forker. “To create these scenes for families with babies of special needs. And, wow, the response has been amazing.” 

The Precious Baby Project

Families interested in having their baby with special needs photographed and, who are willing to drive to the New Haven/Fort Wayne area, should e-mail

Babies should not be able to roll over yet and parents must sign a commercial model release form. Families will receive two free digital images from the session.

For more information and to see more of Forker’s work, visit her Facebook page or visit her website

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

  Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.

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