Last week I wrote about a campaign that is so close to my heart, called Exist in Photos (You can read last week’s Boutique Sermon here).
(Me with my Daddy, Monaco, 1980)
A few years ago, I made memory photo books for my brothers, sister and mum for Christmas. I went through all the old albums my mum had put together of us all growing up and chose my favourites. It was an amazing walk down memory lane, starting with my parent’s wedding, then my birth, then my sister and my two brothers. It included pictures from holidays, car trips, pets and family friends. It’s a book displaying good times, happy times, memories of cuddles with my Dad before he passed away, albeit some of them with questionable fashion and dodgy hair! I still enjoy looking at my mum’s copy when we are over there for Sunday lunch, remembering and re-living moments from my childhood or at least recapping what I’ve been told about the earliest memories.
However, one thing struck me when I was first putting this book together…
There were photos upon photos of my Dad doing his silly Dad face; reams of my siblings and me with mucky faces, gappy-toothed smiles, dressing up, blowing out candles; even friends and cousins featured a lot in our albums but one person was missing from most of the photos. One person that I would probably count as the most important person in my life was no-where to be seen along my youthful journey.
Where were all the photos of my mum?!
Don’t get me wrong, she was very present in our childhood but she is in maybe three photos out of the whole book I put together. Hardly representative of her role in our family. My mum was the one who put all the albums together – you know that thing where you actually PRINT photos and put them in an album – the memories were obviously important enough to her. She would probably say that she was the one behind the camera, taking all of these memories; that my dad was the more comedic, act-like-a-clown-in-front-of-the-camera parent; the one more willing to look silly along with the kids – but I fear there is another, deeper reason why she is not in many photos…
And she is not the only one. I don’t particularly like having my photo taken. And of course, I AM usually the one behind the camera in our family, just because I don’t want to miss what the kids are getting up to. But I thought about my own children looking through their childhood photos in 30 years time and realised that they would have the same experience – lots of photos of them and Daddy – but none, or hardly any, with me.
And this made me so sad! I was here! I AM here NOW!
However, I hear the same thing time and time again from my clients too! When I ask them what sort of photos they want from their newborn or family shoot, they say they want lots of photos of the kids…’but don’t get me in any of them. Who’d want that?’ Many mothers with newborn babies in particular tell me they look a mess or haven’t got any make-up on. One mother told me she was too fat to be in the pictures and would ruin them.
The sad thing is, your kids would LOVE them!!
They want to see you enjoying their childhood along with them. They want YOU to exist in photos.
When you are gone, all they will have left are photos!
So I am consciously working on it. I’m making a concerted effort to be in more photos with my kids, to be present in their visual story. I want to exist in photos.
I want my kids to remember the fun times we had TOGETHER; see my laughter lines and frizzy hair whilst I cuddle them as hard as I can; I can guarantee they are not looking at my non-existent bum or the ‘slightly’ over hanging muffin top bulging over my jeans. I’m not perfect – but I don’t want this to make me invisible in my children’s memories.
I want (I need) to EXIST IN PHOTOS!
(Me with my twiglets, 2014)
And I’m encouraging my clients to exist in their family photos too. I LOVE to pose newborn babies in cute, sleepy poses – it’s one of the reasons why my clients hire me to take photos of their precious new baby in the first place. However, some of my favourite photos from my recent newborn shoots are the ones with the new parents WITH their baby.
(l-r: Isabelle with mummy Alexandra, Chloe with mummy Debbie, Macy with mummy Charlene and big sisters Sienna and Sadie)
So show your kids that you were there with them; you had fun with them and were present! You are important enough to be included with them. Get in those family photos with the kids; take selfies of yourself with them (funny faces optional); hire a professional to do a family shoot for you; but just BE in them! I can guarantee, your children (and grandchildren) will LOVE them!
Lots of love,
(p.s. For the record, here’s a picture of my mummy!! She may not like photos of herself but I hope I look half as good as her when I’m 60+!! xx)
My Mummy (2016)
Book your #existinphotos family shoot now. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session.