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In front of the lens

I spend a lot of time behind the lens. On the one hand, it is my job. On the other, it is where I am the most comfortable. Today reading this blog post (warning: embedded music) got me thinking about what photographic legacy I am leaving my kids. It is starting to look a lot like the photographic legacy of my childhood. I can count the number of photos with my mom on my fingers (no need for toes) and most of them are posed event photos like graduations. The photo below was taken on the train at the Milwaukee Zoo is one of the only everyday type photos I have with my mom.

Sure the color is bad and the composition and focus could be better. However, what do I really see when I look at this picture? Me and my mom! That’s it. All the other stuff doesn’t matter.

So back to my kids. Sure they will have some great portraits, documentation of important events, photos of themselves with dad and grandparents…. but where is mom? I glanced though 2010 photos just to see. There was one occasion on which I turned over the camera and let my husband take photos. (ONE in the entire YEAR and my son was at grandmas that night and not in any of the photos)

I don’t mean to imply that this is my husbands fault. He is willing even though he is not very skilled with my camera (and takes more pictures of my butt than I really care to keep). This is all about me and the fact that I have bedhead or hair in a ponytail more than I would like to admit or that depending on the angle I may have more chins than a shar pei has wrinkles. But I need to get over myself.

I always tell clients who just want “photos of the kids” because they have not lost that 5 pounds that even if they don’t want these photos for themselves right now that in 10 years they might look back on now and think how great they looked. Even if in ten years you have time to be the marathon runner that you always wanted to be with the killer body you always wanted, your kids will never look at those photos of earlier in their childhood and wish you looked better. They remember the love. They just see their mom.

The only other photos from 2010 showing me with the kids are the ones that I paid to have taken while we were in Milwaukee. Thanks Allie (Proud to Introduce Photography warning: embedded music) for making sure that my son also has a few photos with mom in 2010. People are always shocked when they hear that I pay for family photos. However, it is the only way to make sure I have some photos with me and I LOVE to see how different photographers styles and visions look in photos with my family. I truly believe in the value of this experience.

Still, I was really shocked to see that these were the only two instances of me in 2010. I need to get better about this.

I read the blog Under the Sycamore and I have always admired how often the she gets herself into the photos. This post explains WHY she does it and this post is a good inspiration for HOW everyone from the mom with an SLR to a point and shoot to even just an iphone can so it too. There are ways to get yourself in front of the camera. It just needs to be a priority.

On facebook yesterday my college roommate linked to this column by Anna Quindlen. The feelings it stirred had me in tears (sometimes not hard) and though words can evoke memories, but when I am old, I want the photos!

I better get started.