Cover image by LeeKay Photography.

Photographer Jackie Haxthausen puts a fairy-tale spin on family portraits

Three, two, one, and the shutter begins to click, signaling Jackie Haxthausen—mom of three and creative force behind Baton Rouge-based LeeKay Photography—to strike her first pose. Maybe she’s donning a candy-blue face mask in pajamas and rollers, celebrating a girls’ night with popcorn and a pink fruity drink. Or maybe she’s smiling in a ’50s flared dress with Thanksgiving turkey in hand, oblivious to her daughter sneaking a hearty chomp of bread roll. Then again, maybe she’s behind the camera this time, adjusting the red braids for an Anne of Green Gables-inspired portrait, shining her son Hopper’s crown for a wild rumpus a la Where the Wild Things Are, or praying that her dog Georgie keeps his eyes on the peanut butter for a few more snaps in the bathtub.

So goes the play-by-play of a not-so-typical shoot by Haxthausen, who until 2019 spent most of her professional hours as a lifestyle photographer for local clients. At the time, LeeKay Photography, named for Haxthausen’s daughters Liora Elizabeth and Emmeline Kay, had only just begun to take a more creative turn, becoming the platform for a planned series of art-inspired self-portraits starring Haxthausen and her children—think Monet’s Woman with a Parasol, the interpretation of which can still be seen on the LeeKay Photography Instagram page. Haxthausen, an LSU art-major-turned-biology-major who found her way back to photography after an initial career in the medical field, first experimented with such whimsical ideas when her daughters began expressing interest in Disney princesses. 

“I challenged myself to do a storybook-inspired shoot once a month with the kids, learning all the Photoshop techniques I needed to know to pull off what I envisioned in my head,” she says. “Over time, the style just evolved into what it is now—a bit like Wes Anderson movies; a midcentury vintage feel, but still timeless.”

To read more about the artistry behind Haxthausen’s award-winning photos, check out the full cover story from the September issue of inRegister, on newsstands now.