Thursday, January 12, 2012

Say "Cheese" and say it often

Photographs ARE more than paper - I know you all know that. And, I know that many of you have already read the post that I am sharing today. It has been all around the internet over the last few days. It is sad, very sad; and it is hard to read. It is hard to think about. I want you to read it, though. I don't want you to read it just to be sad, and I don't want you to read it as some sleazy way to promote what I do. I am a photographer because I love it and because I know that helping to preserve pieces of our lives is important. My clients understand that, and so they are willing to invest in the process. Sometimes it is expensive and always it is worth it.

I want you to read this blog post from another photographer because I think it has more of a message than making the investment in photography. I think this is a call to all of us parents (often Moms) that it is IMPERATIVE that we have photographs of us - when our children are older, they will want to see what WE looked like, what WE did with them, when WE looked happy or tired or excited or sad or content, what WE shared with them. As parents, we work hard to ensure that we have photos of our children at every age, in every phase, at every special event, etc. How often, though, do we think of a zillion reasons why WE shouldn't be in the photos? My answer to that question is . . . OFTEN!

Do we fear that our children will grow into adults who look back at the pictures of us and see tired or overweight or without make-up or not dressed correctly? Are we afraid we won't measure up? Will we not look as good as the other mothers and fathers? Will our children wish that we had been dressed more fashionably? That's preposterous - you and I both know that.

Our children will see the one thing they are looking for - their Mama or Daddy or Dad or Mom or Pop or whatever you are called. They will see you and remember how we usually looked on those regular weekdays when they came in from playing. They will remember what made us laugh and when we got a serious look. They will remember just the way they sat in our laps or just how we threw them in the air or that we always looked at them in 'just that way.' They will look at those photos, snapshots or formal, and they will tell their children what it was like to be the child of us. I doubt they will notice the make-up or lack of it, the outfit we were wearing, or the amount of weight we needed to loose. They won't be looking for that. They will be looking for pieces of their past; pieces of the way things used to be. They will hold on to our photos in the same way we hold on to theirs.

As I look at the above photo I remember a grand good time. I also see a terribly fuzzy photo, taken with a cell phone, of a crazy tired woman with a funny looking paper thing on her head. I doubt that's what Emma and Harry will see when they look at the photo in years to come. I believe they will see a Mama who loves them, who laughed with them and tried to make that particular night fun. I believe they'll remember how they were the waiters and that they served the food to everyone on the porch and that they helped me use paper towels to make a chef's hat. I believe they'll remember.

I write this today and share this post for you AND for me. I suspect that you are like me. I spend most of the time behind the camera; and even with much prodding from loved ones, I rarely step out and get in front of the camera. That's not okay. I might not love seeing myself in pictures, but my children will; and seeing the photographs that we take today will be the tangible pieces they have of times gone by. I cherish the photos of my children as babies and toddling to walk and making a mess when they learned to eat - they will cherish the photos of their Daddy and I laughing and hugging and smiling and being surprised. I owe that to them. I do.

Please read:


  1. I am so guilty of avoiding photos!! You are right! I never think about jumping into a picture. . I always think I look too tired, need lipstick, hair too frizzy, etc etc..
    I cherish every photo of my Mother! There are very few pics of her on Christmas. The ones I have are candid of her playing with us in front of the tree. She looked very tired but happy! I now know she was probably up most of the night helping Santa. I love seeing those pics of her in action and not worried about her looks. I think she was always beautiful! I will make sure I make it into more pics even if the frizzy hair and tired face become well documented!!

  2. Thanks, Lorin! I'm the same, and I, too, cherish every photo of my Mom. And I never want to be in the photos - I'm going to try so much harder now! (:

  3. This is so true, Deana. My dad's father was killed in a car accident when he was 4, and a month later the house they were living in burnt to the ground. All of their belongings (photographs) were lost. After such loss, my grandmother went to the photographer she had used in town to see if they still had their last family portrait on file. Amazingly, they did. It's the only picture my dad ever had with his father, mother, and two brothers in it. I've always loved the picture and one Christmas, my dad made a copy of it and gave it to me. To this day, it's one of my favorite gifts ever. It's a piece of my family's history and a lasting legacy for my children. Photographs are indeed priceless!


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