Who takes the photos in your family? Who is the one ‘capturing the moments’? Who is the one saying ‘smile’? If it’s like here, then it’s always me. I’m sure Mr J does know how the camera on his phone works, but he never uses it (unless it is a direct order from me as in, mine’s run out of battery, photograph this now as happened at Charlie’s graduation!) which means I rarely turn up in photos.
When our boys were small, mobile phones didn’t have cameras, to be honest, mobiles were still large, brick like things. Unbelievably when Charlie was born in 1995, digital cameras were not a ‘thing’ so in my hospital bag, I had a camera and 2 rolls of film which we then had to send away for processing. I spent an absolute fortune photographing Charlie when he was a baby, but I turn up in maybe a handful of photos from those years although I was with him 24/7. Likewise, when Sebasti was born, he was photographed a lot, especially with Charlie but me, I’m again a shadowy presence who pops up occasionally. I do exist in the photographs of Tobias being born thanks to a very camera enthusiastic doctor who decided to thoroughly enjoy taking shots of my C section with our camera, but I don’t tend to have those out on display in the living room!
And now, cameras are everywhere, photography is easy, no more hauling around the huge camera, it’s the age of the selfie. My dog is photographed incessantly by me, she has developed a ‘look’ now of ‘seriously, can’t we just get on with it’.
I was always embarrassed by my appearance when the boys were small, so I didn’t exactly want to be photographed with them. They were (and still are to me) gorgeous individuals and I was (still am as they now tell me) the tubby, short, tired looking one with dodgy hair. But I do regret that I’m not there in the photographs. I know I laughed a lot with them. We played a lot. We sang a lot. We baked, we painted, I loved their toddler years. I wish I had photographs that I could look at of the days that we just sat on the settee for hours and hours reading books. I almost wish, I said almost, that I have photographs of the tough days, the days I cried because it is so hard being a mum.
So, don’t be like the ‘old me’. Be like the new me – boys and I have a daily selfie routine. Yes, I look tired in 95% of the snaps, rarely am I wearing make- up. These are certainly not staged and filtered pictures, but these are the reality images of our family lives, wearing pyjamas at 4pm because days have been busy, covered in soil from gardening, asleep on the settee, falling over in mud, hugging, laughing, crying even and I’m proud to be in every single one.
Ps Obviously 99% of the time I’m still the one behind the camera, old habits die hard, and the photos on the bookcase are of my boys, dog and husband but I’m trying, baby steps and all that