You would think that as a Dundee Family Photographer I’d have hundreds of photographs of myself with my little men wouldn’t you?
But nope…I am the queen of never being in the photo. My comfort zone is well and truly behind the lens.
And I’m going to bet that you are exactly the same and most probably for the same reasons.
Your hair isn’t perfect, there’s puke/snot/remnants of food on your clothes lovingly placed by one or more of your children, you never got a chance to put your make up on and oh yeah…you’re not your ideal weight yet!
I get it!
After I had my second baby we booked a wonderful newborn photographer for a photography shoot. My little one was 11 days old. I was still bruised and swollen and I was wearing maternity everything (there was nothing yummy mummy about the look I was rocking!).
I asked her to take one photo that made me look like a Mum.
In the two and a half years since having my first I'd realised that I barely had a single photo of me with my first little boy. I'd always avoided it for all of the reasons above.
How sad is that.
My little boy has thousands of pictures of himself as a baby, hundreds with his Dad and other family members and no more than three with me.
It never occurred to me at the time that my desire to always avoid the camera might be inadvertently robbing him of future memories.
What is your earliest memory? Really think about it. How old were you? Four of five maybe?
How much of your life before that is written entirely in photographs. Snippets of birthday parties and paddling pools and riding bikes that you would have no idea at all about unless someone had taken a photograph of it at the time.
You don’t remember those things at all. You remember the image you saw of that particular event.
I used to love poring over my early childhood photographs. Seeing what everyone looked like at the time, what I looked like, trying to recall them.
Not once did I pick up a photo as a child or since and say, ‘Wow, Mum’s looking rough. She must not have put her make-up on that day.’ When we were children we didn’t see these things about our parents. Your children don't see them about you either.
You're just YOU.
And do you know being in a photograph with your child is about so much more than memories.
Having photographs of your family (including you) up on the walls has genuine psychological benefits.
I know, check me out…getting all geeky.
There have been studies conducted that measure the impact of displaying family photographs in your home. And do you know, the conclusions they come to are really quite thought provoking.
Professor Geoff Beattie, a former Dean of Psychology at Manchester University states that…
He states that,
Hmm, confidence and sense of belonging. Yeah, I don’t know about you but those things rank pretty high up on the list for me.
Manners and a willingness to help others (help Mum tidy!) are fairly important too but let’s just say that those are a work in progress!
But I’m getting off track a bit. Here’s the thing.
I want my children to be able to look at photos around our home and see our family…with me included!
I want them to have pictures that show the part of their childhood that falls in the memory void of their first few years.
I want them to see themselves as a crucial part of our little unit.
I want them to remember group hugs and tickle times and to have a vague sense that despite the odd melt down (‘odd’ - ha ha!) their early years were happy and safe and carefree and loving. And I want them to know that we were all connected and bonded together in that space and time.
Now I’m not saying in any way that having a collection of family photos up on the wall is going to do all that for them, but hey, if it helps then I’m gonna give it a go.
I really don’t enjoy being in front of the camera. But I want my boys to be able to look back on our time and see us all together, soiled clothes, messy hair and all.
I even let others, including my eldest little boy, have a crack at taking pictures of me with my big-girl camera now and again – it’s insured! The results are usually squint and out of focus (which is genuinely no bad thing) but I know someday we’ll look back on the photographs he took and remember the times we spent out and about together.
I might not always like myself in the pictures but that’s o.k. because they’re not for me. They’re for them.
How many other things do we do for our kids that are completely selfless?
Let’s add this one to the list!
And just in case this has touched a cord and you’re starting to tick over about it, well click below for a little treat.