Liberty Wexler may just be 3 months old, but she's already learning about the influential women who've blazed a trail for her throughout history. That's thanks to her mom, Jenelle Wexler, a mom of two and "creative soul" from Chicago. Wexler has been dressing little Liberty up in a variety of detailed, gasp-worthy costumes that allow the infant to channel feminist icons like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai, Cleopatra, and Mother Teresa.
"I must find outlets to express myself and the experiences of my world," Wexler tells Parents.com. "My initial interest in taking shots of my kids began with [my now 2-year-old son] River, when he was a newborn. On his first Halloween, I dressed him as a fully loaded burrito, one of our favorite dinner options. I received quite a lot of positive feedback from friends, family, and clients, so I continued creating holiday-themed photo shoots for River. He loved them, usually cheesing it up for the camera, a lot of positive attention, and a few jelly beans."
When little Liberty arrived in April of this year, Wexler knew she wanted to photograph her, too, and she was initially inspired by her love of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. "I am a huge fan of Frida," she says. "We have a painting of her in our home and thought how she and Liberty kind of had a similar appearance, so I then created Lib a costume of the likes of a realistic baby Frida with a floral headband, unibrow, and clothing I already had on hand the very next day."
From there, she started to think of other influential women who she felt should be celebrated for their contributions to society and for making "the world a better place for future women and people as a whole." Soon, the proud mom was soon overflowing with inspiration.
Using a sewing machine, a hot glue gun, and fabric scissors, Wexler has gathered craft supplies and items from thrift stores to create the eye-catching, adorable, not to mention painstakingly-researched, accurate costumes for her little girl.
"Costume design is the fun part, as Liberty is not particular at all, I can dress her up any which way I like, and she is cool with it," she explains. "I can whip out some unique designs relatively quickly; I can complete a costume usually during a nap time or after the kiddos go to bed. I am a crafter at heart, so I tend to keep many accessory parts that come in handy when completing finishing details and props, from fabric for backdrops and costume design, flowers for Frida's headband, buttons, felt, yarn, you name it, and I most likely have it on hand!"
Liberty's grandmother even lent items from her jewelry collection for the Madonna and Cleopatra shoots.
In addition to the fun she's having in the present moment, Wexler says she's hopeful that when Liberty is older and looks back at these photos, "she finds them to be fun yet informatively positive."
"I attempted to capture these women's essence in Liberty," she says. "The emotion of the person sometimes really can be seen in Liberty's photos. In addition, I wanted to bring attention to their specific stories, to show how important these woman's actions were in helping to shape our current society for the better. I believe these women continue to inspire the young females of present day. I feel it is important to pay tribute to the women who fought for and helped protect and further women's causes. I only hope these are the individuals that Liberty herself chooses to admire and aspire to be like."
In the meantime, Wexler's family, friends, and fans all over the country are sharing their admiration for her work, which has inspired her to keep designing costumes and photographing her L.O. "I have quite a few more women and their stories already in mind with costumes and future shoots in the works!" she shares. "I am proud of the photos I take and the women that I have Liberty portray! It’s nice knowing my daughter is bringing some happiness into the world."
Check out just a few more jaw-droppingly cute examples of Wexler's work. For more, check out @PhotographyofLiberty on Instagram.