As a mum and a photographer, I know all about being behind the camera….it is very rare I’m in front of the lens. In fact, in my quest to get as many mothers to exist in the photographs with their children, I became a somewhat expert at avoiding the frame. Hypocrite, I know.
I had a few experiences in the past where the images just did not match how I felt about becoming a mum. Or at other times, how I felt physically, did not match how I wanted to remember motherhood. So what did I do? I allowed fear to take over and avoided photographs altogether.
“Take a photo but don’t get me in it”,
“I am so tired, please don’t photograph me”.
You see, I had a myriad of excuses. “The house isn’t finished”, “our family isn’t finished”, “too tired”, “so much on”, “nothing to wear”. And on. And on. And on.
As I started spreading my message to other mums to #existinphotographs, I started whinging I had no nice photos of me with the children…(haha I know right?) My husband began to take more images on his iPhone. He was particularly good on hikes when I was sweating up a storm, or in my Pyjama’s with missing buttons and creases on my face from my pillow. Whilst I love him for doing this and definitely do appreciate these photos to document moments in time, I wanted to exist in photographs with my family which went far beyond simply how we all looked. I wanted our images to show true connection, emotion or personality.
You see, motherhood is hard, I’m not going to lie. It is the most challenging adventure to date. However, amongst the mess, chaos and lack of sleep, motherhood has been my most honoured journey. It has made me feel more like me, and I am in awe of what I learn through my kids every day. I wanted to preserve the in between moments, when I feel beautiful as a mother. Not in the glamour sense, but rather in the sense that I am right where I need to be. For my kids to look at the photos now and in years to come and feel the warmth of our hugs, the laughter in our voices and that feeling of unconditional love which is all encompassing.
I truly believe there might be a time later in life where they might need reminders of this love, and this is something money can not buy.
When Kym and Anthony reached out to me on instagram we agreed to do a photo shoot for each other capturing our families.
On the day of our photo session, things didn’t really go to plan. Anthony arrived and none of us were ready. Laurence had not arrived home from work, the house was a mess and Azalea had only one plait in her hair. I was still recovering from having tonsillitis and pneumonia and wasn’t feeling my 100% best. It all felt a little out of control….a bit like motherhood really. I remember thinking, is it too late to back out? I’m so glad I didn’t. This session served as an anchor point to steer me back on course. It was an Ah ha moment to letting go, and being grateful for these amazing people in my life.
With rain clouds looming, we went straight out back gate to “our forest” as Azalea calls it. A place we go nearly every day. Was it uncomfortable? yes, slightly….but as the session went on I knew I was in good hands and was able to let go some more. It was actually after the shoot that I realised how special it was. This act of stopping and celebrating my family was a symbol of what I needed more of in my life. We live in an age where being busy is worn like a badge of honour. Where you are expected to “soldier on”.
But what if it didn’t have to be this way? This photo session reminded me of my values and what is important to our family. It allowed me to disconnect from the go go nature of life and to seek abundance through the simple act of being present.
I have been more focused so much more aware of my time, and what is in and out of my control. I didn’t pick apart my photos because when I look at them, I see us. I feel our family. I have a deeper understanding of why I love photographing families and I’m forever grateful to Anthony from Lover of Mine for taking these images for us which will outlive you and me.
So if you have been guilty of avoiding the camera like me, I hope this gives you some courage to exist in photographs with your family too x