By now you’ve seen the stunning drawing of my family by my (then) six-year-old Daniel. At the time that was the only current picture I was in with my children, so I decided to invest in professional photography engaging a colleague to photograph me with my babies. Jen Maunder is a country Victorian photographer whose style I love. At the time she was just about to move from Queensland, so I booked a session with her before she left.
As a photographer myself and a self-conscious, tubby mum, I am much happier behind the camera than in front of it. I am really critical of photographs of myself and I never used to like being in them. I still don’t like being in photographs, but I now understand why it is so important.
These photographs are not for me.
Now, that’s really important, so I’ll say it again… these photographs are NOT for me.
It is the hope of every parent that your children and their children will out-live you. These photographs are for them. They are the proof you not only existed, but you were present with them in their childhood and important moments of their lives. These photographs are the way your loved-ones see you – not the controlled selfie, but the uncontrolled laughter, double-chins, funny faces and the relaxed, settled silences snuggled up on the couch when your guard is down. This is how you look to your loved-ones and this is how they’d like to remember you.
As a mum, this is my favourite photograph from Jen’s session.
Christopher (14), James (7), Amelia (15), Daniel (6) and Nicholas (12)
Yes, the shoot was fun plus hard work. Because I know how I photograph families, I worked hard on just stepping back and letting Jen do her thing – even when they weren’t all behaving as I would have liked. Jen works with kids and families and has her own way of getting the professional photography she is looking for. I put my trust in her as a photographer.
“But you’re not in it!” I hear you say…
There I am. With my loves, as they know me – calm, easy-going, happy to be snuggling with them.
Are you in your photographs?
After photographing all the children, with and without me, Jen separated me from the folds and took a few photographs of me on my own. THIS I really struggle with. I didn’t want to see these particular photographs when my session was ready to be proofed. Amongst others, Jen captured this one.
When I look at this photo I see a horse-mouthed, tired, puffy-faced, did I mention tired(?) woman who can barely open her eyes. It’s not about me, though. This photograph of me – a divorced, single mother of five, running her own businesses, paying a mortgage and trying to create a life to remember for her children – is not about me. It’s not even for me. Remember…. I said that a few times before?
This is the face my loved-ones see. This is my unguarded smile (which looks like I’m planning to bite small children). Those are my lines and wrinkles from laughing so often. Yes, it’s true I’m tired, but that’s only for now… soon enough these amazing young people will be grown up and my business will be looking after itself and I can rest. For now, this is me.
Please make sure you have photographs of you. You on your own and you with your family.
Speaking of family, here are some of my favourites from Jen Maunder‘s photography session with my family.