I’ve been wanting to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but I held off as I was struggling to put a lot of what I wanted to say into words, and there was someone I needed to thank in person first. Now that that’s done, I feel like I can probably make my thoughts blog worthy.
I love taking family photographs, of my own brood and other peoples’ families too. For my own family it’s about how much and how fast they change, preserving a snippet of time. My dear old mum kept immaculate albums of snaps for my first 10 years and they’re so good to look back on and see how I changed and how my kids look or don’t look like me, and they’re doubly important to me now that she’s not around. This was one of the reasons I fell in love with the camera, and my children only hate having their photographs taken when I ask them if I can take them. Mum snapping away all day and taking pictures of them pulling DVDs off the shelf is a completely normal thing here.
Last year someone shared an article on Facebook that really got me thinking though. I know I love taking those photographs, but why do I advertise my services as a lifestyle photographer? Why do we need professional pictures of our families and why does it matter whether we them out of our online galleries, off our USB sticks or even our phone pictures off our phones and get them on the wall? This struck a chord.
“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced.” – Cathy Lander-Goldberg
My clients always ask me about my own home and assume that it’s plastered in pictures. It is, for the most part, but I’m a rehanger, I’m not very good about keeping images up to date. This made me think about what was displayed on my walls: There were four pictures of me in the house. A wedding photograph, an early picture of me and David, and two pictures of me with Effy. Although there are countless pictures of Lowen, there are none of me and her. Worse still there are none that show the four of us as a family unit. I felt really guilty.
But here’s the thing. One of the reasons there are so few pictures of me is that I hate having my picture taken. If you follow me on Instragram you’ll know that the last three months have seen me turn from couch potato to fitness bunny (ok, fitness hippo) in a bid to get back to the size I was when I married David. Happiness, unhappiness, maternity leaves, good friends, complacency, Camembert, unsociable hours and eating like a king being so well fed by my wedding couples has left me with a body that I don’t like very much. It’s changing; I can get both my arms into my jeans now. I can run for 30 minutes and still breathe. But while I would NEVER allude to this in front of my children, it’s easier to not be in the picture than to spend time not enjoying the picture. Sad but true. Hold on, I can hear my clients shouting… You ALWAYS encourage us, the parents, into photographs with our children. Yes I do. I have been such a hypocrite. I talk about investment in photographs so often. I rate the value of photographs as one of the most important things in life. So it was time to create and invest in a legacy for MY children that included me, just like I work so hard to create beautiful legacies for my clients.
I am SO lucky to have so many good friends who are stunning and talented photographers but if I was going to bare my soul to anyone and get on the other side of the camera, I knew that I’d have to feel 100% comfortable with the photographer I chose as well as loving their work. There’s a whole story about torrential rain, potentially unrealistic weather expectations, written off cars and a deer that I shant go into. I asked for big skies and winter sunsets, and that’s what I got. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this as a moment preserved in time. It marks so many milestones in Family Hall’s life; David turning 30, the end of my first wedding season and a successful first year for HHP, the start of getting my pre baby body back and throwing my inhibitions to the wind. Or maybe into the North Sea. I’ve not shared many online because we’ve just been enjoying them for us. So here’s the place they’ve taken in our home where we enjoy them multiple times a day, and a few of our very favourites.
James Rouse, what an inspiration you are. I don’t need to write much here because you know, but not only have you changed my families life as a result of fabulous guidance and mentoring, you’ve encapsulated everything about us as a family in photographic form and we are overjoyed with the photographic legacy you’ve created for us.
I’ll keep banging on about this: Print your photographs. Display them. Invest in photographs so that you’re all in them. Stick two fingers up at your inhibitions and enjoy just being as a family and make sure it’s documented. Enjoy your pictures. Look at them daily. Talk about them. Create a legacy with them.
Never, ever underestimate the value of a piece of paper behind a piece of glass and the love and happiness it can hold.