4:00am ramblings ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you. :)
So - proud mommy brag alert - my son just woke up at 4am, dry, told me he needed to use the bathroom, did, went back to bed, and here I am, wide awake....
As I was lying in bed, scrolling through Facebook on my phone, I was on my business page and saw a recent post with the number of people who had seen it over 3,000. "Cool" I thought. I clicked on that number and got even more information - over 14,000 "stories" were created (when it shows up in someone's newsfeed), 12,000 "likes" and 2,700 comments were generated from this ONE posting on my page. WOW right? (This is not a humblebrag I promise) So what was it that created all of this chatter? It was a post from my "Mommy and Me" sessions from a couple weeks back.
These photos - as simple, fast and few as they really were, struck a chord. I had women coming up to me beforehand telling me how excited they were to be coming in for their 15 minute slot, others telling me everyone they talked to was going too, more telling me after the fact how many of their friends now had my photos as their profile pictures. And I am, to say the least, absolutely blown away. I had this idea a few months ago, not simply to fill an open Saturday on my schedule - because really, I'm cool with a weekend off. I didn't do it to make a ton of money - the sessions were $20 and what was included was over 70% off my normal prices. I did it because I want to see moms in the pictures. Period.
And I practice what I preach too! (Big thanks to Rachel from Rachel Diane Photography for snapping these for me when she came in for her session)
As I scroll through Facebook, and blogs and even when I go into people's homes, I am struck by the lack of photos with mom in them. I have 2,000 photos on my phone right now, 8-9,000 on my personal Facebook page, and over 10,000 in my photo editing program on my computer right now. Most of my personal photos are of my kid, our animals, food, the ocean, my friends and my family. How many have me in them? 1%? 2%? I don't say this because I think the world needs more of my face - but I would like to think that 40-50 years from now, my son would like to have some photos to remember me by.
I believe as we take hundreds, if not thousands of photos every year, with more photos of our Starbucks cups then our faces, we are watering down the entire pool of images - and creating more mass for our loved ones to have to search through to come up with anything meaningful to demonstrate our participation in their lives. One of the "Mommy & Me" photos I saw on a friend's page had over 200 "likes" another had dozens and dozens of comments about how beautiful mom was and how the kids had grown. Now I know the vapid-ness of Facebook can be argued here - but the overall sentiment I saw I was "WOW! You look Great!" "I haven't seen you in ages - you haven't changed a bit" "Look how HAPPY you are!" Positive, encouraging and let's face it - AMAZED to see the actual *faces* of these women on their own Facebook profile photos.
I'm no sociologist - but I have a few theories about this. 50-100 years ago photographs were precious and few. Cameras were expensive, and film and processing was expensive, slow and not a necessary expense. A person could live their whole life and be lucky to keep track of a shoebox size box of photographs with 5-10 "nice" photographs of themselves throughout their life. Men were generally in charge of this equipment, taking the photos at family gatherings of formal posed groups all looking into the lens. There may be a few non posed images of mom and the kids, and dad and his car. That was about it. Now we are taking more photos then ever before, and printing less. We are quick to judgement on ourselves, promising to get those family portraits taken "When I lose just 10 more pounds." Cameras are cheap and "processing" them is free. Mom is generally the family historian now. Taking hundreds of photos at every milestone, every teeball game, and every family gathering - and managing to stay out of the *story* in the process.
With almost everything I do in my life, I try to evaluate all the pros and cons, and what the worst case scenerio would be. So, lets say, we all agree to be *in* more of our photos, what are the cons? "I'll look fat" "I'm not photogenic" "My hair appointment isn't until next week" OK. What are the pros? Your children will *see* you in their story, they will connect the moments and the memories in their past with you in them, you will look back and realize how silly it was to think you were fat/ugly/old - because, well, look how hot you were! Seems like an easy decision to me.
I'm kidding, I know it's hard. It's hard to get over what we percieve our flaws to be, to put ourselves out there thinking someone is going to tear us apart. Guess what. They don't. And your kids? They think you're beautiful. No kid, after losing a parent, ever has looked at a photograph with them and thought, "Gee, this photo would be SO much better if she had just lost that last 10 pounds, or put on some makeup, or got her hair done that day."
So I want to applaud these women in these photographs above - and all the others who came by that day. The ones who fought to get their kids fed, dressed and out of the house looking presentable while also putting on some makeup, brushing their hair and putting on a cute outfit. The ones who bribed for a smile with Dairy Queen or a new toy, who left my studio after a whirlwind 15 minutes with ONE photograph that captured that ONE moment for themselves and their families.
It's hard. I know. But do it anyway. It's worth it.