In recent years, there have been blog post after blog post written by photographers, directed toward mothers who aren’t comfortable with their appearance and would rather have their kids photographed solo. But I think if we’re honest with ourselves, it isn’t just a few moms who are hesitant to see themselves in photographs. Everyone can be the reluctant subject because —
We don’t like the way our faces scrunch up when we laugh.
We aren’t the biggest fans of our own smiles.
We are insecure about the shape of our arms, or our (real or imagined) double chins, or the way we look in profile.
We think we make unattractive expressions that inevitably get caught in pictures.
Wait. Is it just me? Those are my insecurities when it comes to getting my picture taken. I know I’m my own harshest critic. That was definitely the case when I took a look at this picture — a quick snapshot from the day before Easter. Of course we wanted to look good . . . or as good as you can at a cookout/pool party while chasing nine children around a house . . . but there was something much more important to us than looking good: we simply wanted to record that this had happened. That four best-friends-for-nearly-two-decades had all managed to get together and just relax together for the first time in a couple years.I immediately began counting up the things I disliked about my own appearance in this picture, from the wildness of my hair to the angle of my face to how un-Florida white my skin looks. And then I decided that having this picture of the four of us together was far more important to me than any imperfections.
And you know what? I bet most people out there would feel the same way if they really stopped to think about it. What’s going to be more important to you when you’re ninety — that you made sure you never showed up in pictures because you don’t love the way you look, or that you now have very few photographs of you with the people you love? What’s going to be more important to you when your children are grown — that you don’t have to remember carrying a few extra pounds, or that now you don’t have any high quality images of yourself with your children when they were small?
Please — to all the moms out there, and to everyone else — consider the alternatives. No pictures of you looking less than perfect . . . or no pictures for your family to hold onto at all.
Please, get in front of the camera sometimes. You don’t have to look perfect. You just have to look like you wanted to be there for your family.