I have long
gently suggested preached to moms that book a session with me to be in at least a few of the pictures. There is almost always a hesitancy, but over the years I’ve talked many a mom into it. Yesterday was a huge reminder of just WHY I do that. A young, beautiful and extremely talented fellow photographer in Oregon lost her battle with ovarian cancer yesterday. She was diagnosed a little over a year ago. I’ve known of Jen for about nine years through a photography formum I’m on. I’ve never met her in person, but have always admired her work and creativity. Just after she was diagnosed and right before she had major surgery and started chemo, a fellow photographer in the area called her and asked if he could do a session of her and her two boys who are 9 and 6. He showed up with TWO other photographers to photograph and video them in a gorgeous field. You can see the session on Benjamin Edward’s Facebook page: JEN & HER BOYS I am heartbroken and so sad for her boys and can’t stop thinking about them.
I learned about Jen’s passing yesterday afternoon and later in the day caught a segment on TV about a Huffington Post article that a mommy blogger had written about being in pictures with her kids. She recently came to a realization about how few picture she was in and decided to make a change. Here is one of my favorite parts of her post:
I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don’t look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her — her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That’s the mother I remember. My mother’s body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn’t care that she didn’t look like a model. She was my mama.
So when all is said and done, if I can’t do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.
BLOG POST LINK
Here is a 2 minute clip of her interview:
This is one of my all time favorites of my boys and I that almost didn’t happen. We were leaving the zoo and it was closing time. I was tired and hot and worn out from chasing my two little guys around the zoo. My husband said, “Let me get a quick shot of you and the boys.” I argued for a few seconds, but he insisted and I finally agreed. Holding two wiggly boys at the same time is not easy and as I was trying to get my younger son up higher on my waist, the little bounce I did made him laugh. I decided to do it again to see if he’d keep laughing. He did. His laughing made my older son laugh, so I kept doing the same thing and very quickly I was cracking up as well. MY dear husband kept on snapping, knowing it did not matter AT all that none of us were looking at the camera. When we got in the car and I started scrolling through the pictures, this one immediately made me cry. It’s now a framed canvas in our home and I love that our boys will see it for many years to come. I’m so thankful my husband didn’t listen to me about not being in the picture.
The rest of this post is a collection of some of the mommies I’ve photographed over the years. I woke up this morning praying for Jen’s boys and felt the need to write this post and share some pictures. Moms, your children love YOU. They don’t care about your extra weight, gray hairs, wrinkles, makeup-less face etc. You are their mommy and they will treasure pictures with you, whether you like the way you look or not. (The same goes for daddies being in pictures too, but my focus is on moms because of Jen and the segment I saw.)