Let’s just say that when it comes to taking photos, my husband is really great at mowing the lawn. The problem of course about being picky about pics is that it often ends up that mums take all the pictures – and aren’t in any of them!
It’s so important to be in the photo mumma – read on for why. And trust us, you’ll relate to this mums journey through bad family photos…
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my husband, and he’s a fantastic Dad. But he can’t take a picture to save his life.
“Can you take a photo of us?” I ask again and again, naively hoping that surely this time, I’ve served him the perfect composition on a plate – all he has to do is snap, and finally I will have a decent photo of myself with my son. But for all his willingness to try, he really does take an awful photo. Every time. His specialty is the 6-feet-away unflattering-angle blur-capture. When he takes a photo, my double chin comes out in full force, my eyes inexplicably close in that classic is-she-sneezing-or-having-a-seizure puzzler, and the stick on the ground in front of us is somehow the only non-blurry focal point. My guy? He’s definitely not a photographer.
Granted, he doesn’t get the hours of practice that I get every day at home with my son – I’m still in that awkward stage of parenting where every time he eats a banana or wraps a tea towel around his neck I reach for my phone and excitedly snap a burst of 35 photos that all look virtually the same, but I can’t possibly choose between or delete because in this one his little fist was clenched and in that one his eyes look a bit bigger and even though this one is a bit blurry he is pulling the cutest face everrrr and great my 64GB phone memory is full AGAIN.
So when it comes to documenting our life as a family, I’m the photographer. I’m the one behind the camera, snapping the photos that end up in our albums. And this is no new thing – Mums around the world are inevitably finding themselves falling into the job of Official Family Photographer. While Dads’ brains are wired more to enjoy the moment, Mums’ brains are wired to remember the moment forever. We get in the habit of reaching for the camera before Dads even consider a moment Kodak-worthy, and as a result, more often than not, we’re out of the picture.
The problem with that is, when people look back at photos, their attention is fully on the faces and the action in the photo – not on the weary woman behind the lens who snapped 20 times before finally catching everyone looking at once, or croakily exclaimed for the 150th time “Smile, Jackson, and get your finger out of your nose!”We Mums take on the all-important task of capturing a memory, and in doing so, extract our very presence from that memory. Whether it’s because we don’t trust our husbands (or others!) to take as good a photo, whether we’re not happy with our hair or outfit that day, whether nobody else has thought to pick up the camera and snap, we’re often out of the picture. As a result, when our kids are grown up and flicking through the old family albums, one of the most important people in their lives won’t be smiling back at them.
So maybe it’s time for me to let go of the idea of the ‘perfect’ photo of my son and me, and hand over the camera to my darling husband more often. Maybe being a tangible presence in a photo, even if it’s a bit blurry and even if the angle makes me look more haggard-swamp-beast than happy-toddler-mama, is more important than achieving the perfect shot myself from behind the lens. And hey, maybe the extra practice will end up enhancing my husband’s photography skills to an acceptable level.
But to be safe, I think I’ll send him to a photography class.
Mum Central’s Rules for Mums in The Picture
- You are a beautiful mum right now. Get in the picture.
- Your children think you are amazing and its important that there are photos of you. Get in the picture.
- A selfie is as good as portrait. Take lots of them. Get in the picture.
- Back up your photos. All of them. Never risk losing your precious memories.