Family photos

Who do you think took all these pictures?

Do you have photos of your family photographer?

In many families, there’s one person who is the designated family photographer. Usually that person enjoys their role and  the gratitude they receive from family members. However, this arrangement can have its downside: When all those photo albums are compiled, sometimes the family photographer is only conspicuous by their absence.

Vintage Camera

Remember these?

Parents vs Family Photographers

I know that was the case in my family. Though my mom was a stay at home mom, if you went purely by the photos she left, you would wonder why she was never around. It was not just that she was bitten by virulent shutter-bug or was over-enthused over the Kodak Instamatic. She was not comfortable with her beauty and was self-conscious in front of the camera. She took her refuge on the other side of it.

It’s a problem that’s particularly true of moms that serve as the family photographer. In her wonderfully eloquent blog “The Mom Stays in the Picture” featured in The Huffington Post, Allison Tate makes the case that moms, complete with any physical flaws they might possess, should stay in front of the camera, in the frame with their children. It’s a well-written, moving piece that I highly recommend. I won’t do it the disservice of summarizing or paraphrasing. She makes some very valid points. When we look back at pictures of ourselves as youths with our parents, we’re not evaluating our parents’ physical attributes. We’re remembering our bond.

Family photographers: Get in front as well as behind the lens.

Family photographers: Get in front as well as behind the lens.

Photography for memory’s sake, like almost everything else in life, requires moderation and balance.  As wonderful as it is for parents to have pictures of their children, it is equally wonderful to have photos with the entire family in the frame.

Put the family photographer in the frame, or on the dance floor, or…

Similarly, it’s great to memorialize all those coming of age moments—dance recitals, sports, graduations, etc.However, when you look back on your photographs or videos later in life, you don’t want your memories to be based solely on recorded images. Stop and drink in the moments as well, imprinting them on your brain so you have access to them when there’s nary a photo album in sight.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

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