September 30, 1996 12:00 PM

BOTTICELLI WORKED in oils, Rodin in bronze, Winslow Homer in watercolors. Anne Geddes may become famous for a fleshier medium. “I’m a photographer who sees the art form in babies,” says Geddes, a 40-year-old Australian. “Whenever I see an image of something, in my mind, I see a baby in it.”

For 15 years, Geddes has taken pictures of babies as angels, babies as ladybugs, babies as sleepy-looking little birds. Yet even though some 11 million Geddes products—calendars, posters, greeting cards—have been sold worldwide, her artistry remains forever in its infancy. This month she published her first coffee-table book, Down in the Garden, which features a fresh batch of babies decked out as flora and fauna.

Why babies? “They’re accessible, and they are all beautiful,” says the photographer, herself the mother of two young daughters (their father, Geddes’s husband, Kel, 49, helps manage her business). Her secrets of success are meticulous preparation and endless patience. “With a 6-month-old you have 20 minutes of attention, so when we bring a baby into the studio, everything is ready,” says Geddes, who often gets her shot after the infant has dozed off. “Holding a baby and waiting for it to go to sleep might be pressure,” she admits, “but it’s a nice kind of pressure.”

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