Why are family portraits important to me?
As a professional photographer, visual imageries are very important to me. I started getting hooked on photography decades ago when I bought my first SLR (as a pre-requisite to completing an art diploma) – I took it on my travels and found the ability to capture the magnificent sceneries in front of me extremely powerful. I have no plans to go back to many of these places again, but the images stay. The same magical power translates across to photographing people. The ability to freeze a particular stage in life, the innocence, the youth and the fond moments together cannot be replaced by anything else on earth. I experience this for my photography clients and also first-hand as a mother.
I gave birth by an emergency caesarean and could hardly lift myself out of bed within the first week from birth. Come week two, as soon as I regained some strength and mobility, I was squatting in my photography studio taking pictures of my new born – with her alone or with her dad. My husband called me crazy, but as soon as he saw the resulting images he agreed that we should not miss that moment. I took pictures of her and us frequently within her first year, than a bit less frequently but still regularly thereafter. Every time we see a photo of her in her slightly younger days (she is only a toddler now so we really are talking about months), we could not believe how much she has changed. And when we look at pictures from her first year, we always exclaim – "was that really her?" Look at what she was like! That is when we start re-telling each other stories, which we plan to retell her one day.
I mentioned I took photos of us. Yes, I take pictures of us by means of self-portrait, which is a little bit more challenging in set-up and execution. It frequently involves the use of remote control and timers, substantially more testing and a lot of wonky shots that make us giggle. As I cannot see the posing and composition through the lens and check how the light falls on each of us, there are generally a lot of re-takes and my little one inevitably loses her patience.
We therefore celebrate our family unit by hiring the help of a professional photographer every year. Within the session time we can have a good variety of pictures, posed and candid, with everyone looking fabulous as we are captured in the right conditions and right spirits. As my daughter grows older, she actually loves the photo shoots and the attention. For me, it is a relief that I know I can be part of the photos without too much effort!
True there is the prevalence of smart phones and the "selfie". However selfies never really appeal to me – our faces always look distorted in the photos and the quality of the selfie camera is secondary. I would like to have pictures of us that we are proud to put in frames, and collate in family albums.
We have a wall at home that is dedicated to hanging our family photos. I cannot wait to fill it with our years of memories and adventures together.