Existing in Photos with my Mother

Existing in Photos with my Mother

As a portrait photographer, I am constantly stressing the importance of existing in photos; especially of existing in photos with your mother.  Yet, when I started thinking about pictures that my mom and I existed in, I could think of very few. So I went through ALL of my pictures. I asked my mom to go through all of hers. I asked my aunt and cousin to go through theirs. In the end, we came up with 10 pictures throughout my entire 38 years that are of just me and my mom. Only 10.

And the most recent one was from nearly 20 years ago.

So, for Christmas, I gave my mom the gift of a mother/daughter portrait session. She was to come to my studio, get her hair and makeup done, and we’d take some beautiful portraits together. January came and went. As did February. And March. I kept letting the busyness of everyday life get in the way – in the way of something as important as existing in photos as adults with my mother.

Finally, last week, we had our session. We had such a fun day. We laughed and joked with one another. Mom got her hair and makeup done, and she had faux eyelashes applied for the first time! She felt so pretty and kept saying she couldn’t believe how blue her eyes were. It was so special to watch her see herself all done up for the first time in many years. We looked at old pictures of us, and she gushed over the Record Wall in the studio (from records that she collected when she was a teenager!). We took some serious pictures, and also captured many where we were goofing off. We thoroughly enjoyed our “us” time together. Afterwards, since we were already all glammed up, we went out for lunch and enjoyed each others’ company for just a little longer.

At 38 years old, I am very grateful that my 63-year-old mom is still with me. But I know that isn’t the case for many. As a photographer myself, I am embarrassed that it took so long to get me and my mom in front of the camera.

Because we never know if we have a tomorrow.

I know that one of the reasons that we don’t exist in more photos together: my mom and I have both steadily put on weight over the past 20 years and we are both at our heaviest right now. It’s hard to get excited about having photos taken of us when we aren’t feeling and looking what we think is our best. But being overweight was not a good enough excuse not to have our portrait taken together. What if we both said we wanted to lose 20 pounds before we had our photos taken? I know what would happen…we’d never have our portraits taken. We’d either not lose that weight, or once we did, we’d want to lose 20 more, then 20 more, etc. No matter where you are in your life, what your weight is, how big your thighs are, etc, RIGHT NOW is the right time to exist in photos.

I am so thankful that I didn’t put our photo shoot off for one more day…and that we didn’t let our insecurities and the busyness of life get in the way of something so important. 

We now exist in photos together as adults.