As well as being a Photographer I am also a mother of two children, Alfie aged 9 and Isla aged 6. I constantly tell my clients and friends the importance of having the whole family in photographs including the ever illusive Mummy! In the digital world of iPhones and cameras we are constantly bombarding our social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram with snapshots of family life, moments captured in seconds and forever lingering in a social media bubble. I know like many of you those photos stay stuck in your phones, rarely printed and displayed at home for all to see. This is another issue that we rarely get round to fixing and something I am trying to tackle in my own family home! Print, print, print is my new moto!
But what is even worse than not printing photos, is the missing person in most of these candid shots…the Mummy. It goes without saying that for obvious reasons in my family I tend to be the one taking the photos and not being in them! But there is sadly a deeper trend for the average family for the mother not to be in photographs…this complex that we won’t look good in the photos. Its sad that as Mothers we feel that unless we look perfectly groomed (full makeup, no dodgy roots!) than we can’t be in the photos just incase they are put on Facebook and spotted by people who think that you have lost your looks since the children came along! There is a trend on social media that create programmes which simply upload your profile shot and smooth out your wrinkles to give you a Hollywood finish! I know because I’ve tried it…it made me want to have Botox immediately!
However, what message are we sending to our children? I was chatting to another fellow mum the other day and she said ” If I was to drop dead tomorrow, I don’t think there would be one single photo of me with my children – I think they would struggle to remember what I looked like!” How deeply sad is that? But the brutal truth is that unless you have the confidence of Kym Kardashian to photograph selfies with your children at every opportunity then you will most likely fall into the invisible mum category.
In this scary image-led world that our children are growing up in, it is vital that we set our children (especially mums of girls) a strong example. I have lost track of how many family shoots I have taken, where the opening words from the mother, in front of her children, is “I hate having my photo taken” “I look awful in photographs” “Don’t get my double chin in!” “Do you do airbrushing?” “Can you make me look thinner?”
Many of these comments are made in jest, but even so, the children take it in just the same. We are inadvertently creating the next generation of body conscious teenagers. Its time Mothers changed the way they speak about themselves… Be Confident, Be Positive, Be Beautiful … and most important of all is trust your photographer! Having shots of the WHOLE family on your walls send a confident and reassuring presence in your children’s life. Don’t display your body issues to your children and let them believe, just as they believe the tooth fairy exists, that their mother LOVES having her photo taken especially with their children.
This Mothers Day – book a shoot, take a group selfie with your children, print the photo and start to show how important you are to your family.