The Ghost in Our Family Photos – from Scary Mommy

Are you your family’s photographer? You know, the one who everyone relies upon for pictures at all the family events? Unsurprisingly, that’s me. If you can relate, then this post is for you.

kids singing happy birthday to grandpa at kitchen table

So I am always preaching to moms to exist in photos. Not just selfies and not just those formal portraits that you get once a year with a professional. I mean, REALLY exist in photos the way we exist in our REALITY.

And there are SOOO MANY reasons this is important to me. Because I want my children to see how comfortable I am sharing photos of myself in all my yoga pants no makeup messy hair don’t care glory. Especially my daughter, who in kindergarten is already stressing over what kids will think about the way she styles her hair! (WHAT??!?)

Because poring through the box of old photos in my mom’s closet reveals too few images of her and of my grandmother, who I miss dearly and struggle to recall more with the passage of time.

And because if you looked at our family photo albums, you might guess my kids were being raised by a single parent (hint: it isn’t me).

dad digging hole with 3 kids watching bored

It isn’t my husband’s fault. I taught him how to use our camera and he does do so, when I ask for it. The problem is that HE ISN’T ME. When the kids are having a moment and I’m running for the camera, his instincts are different. He has a memory like a steel trap and he doesn’t really need to take photos, to secure his memories. I guess you could say he takes pictures in his mind. Where I am thrilled by the challenge of making a picture that makes a statement (gorgeous light, perfect moment, and enthralling composition!), he directs his artistic energy toward other pursuits. He just doesn’t have the passion to make pictures the way I do. And it seems unfair to ask it of him.

So I continue to request on-the-spot pictures of me with the kids, and he continues to do so, begrudgingly, knowing his photos won’t always measure up to what I’m looking for- because it isn’t me pressing the shutter. (Sorry, Mark!)

mom snuggles with tired baby walking by front door of house

I do choose to hire a documentary photographer every year to photograph our day-in-the-life, and I treasure those albums of photos almost as much as my kids adore looking through them.

But still I couldn’t help but feel a pang in the gut when I read this achingly beautiful article on the Scary Mommy blog. I just HAD to share it with you…

The Mom Who Wasn’t There: The Ghost In Our Family Photos

(Crying yet?)

Incidentally, if YOU identify as the family photographer, you should DEFINITELY look into the podcast “The Family Photographer” by Pittsburgh photographer Jenny Stein. Jenny conducts thoughtful, inspiring interviews with established photographers over the world- all conversations geared toward people like yourself who just want to capture your family’s memories. Good stuff.

Okay that’s it for today!

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