While looking for photos for a blog post about remote work with a baby, I realized how few photos I have of myself with my daughters, especially when they were babies. As a technology holdout, I didn’t have a smartphone when my oldest was born in 2011. So, selfies weren’t as easy as they are now.
My very best baby purchase was my Canon DSLR, which is still going strong. I used it every day for years to capture both daughters’ early lives. We still use it now, although with our cell phones, we now have a decent camera in our hands most of the time and those have taken over as the most frequently used way we capture memories. The best camera is the one you have with you, the old saying goes.
I do take selfies with my girls now–sometimes they’re not really up for it of course, but usually they will indulge, especially with a filter incentive. They adore Snapchat, to which my sister introduced them. But selfies aren’t really enough, are they? I want to capture more–holding hands and walking together (I have one of those my sister took once upon a time), splashing in the pool, cuddling with a book, baking together. I know my memory is supported by photographic evidence, and selfishly I want my presence in their lives to be reflected in my girls’ childhood photos.
Sometimes I do think to hand my husband the camera or ask for a specific photo. And my mother-in-law took a favorite picture of me and my youngest. But for the most part, I’m not often in the pictures. I’m the family photojournalist, so to speak, and behind the camera means not often in the photos, even if I am part of the memories themselves.
In what is likely one of the few things we have in common, model and mom of two Chrissy Teigen shared a similar feeling in a recent Instagram post caption: “I never have pictures of myself because I am selfless and am the designated photo taker and keeper for my family and no one else seems to care to be thoughtful and take good photos of me they merely click them off without paying attention to angles or lighting or general photo ambience. but it’s okay. such is the life I chose.”
I’m not super concerned about lighting or angles, but maybe there is some truth to the idea that I’m not in the photos because I’m less than happy with my appearance. But looking back, I’d love to have been in the frame more often with my girls no matter how I look. I know that’s true for them too–they love me just as I am. I want to have a record of the real life we’re living, although with maybe a little bit of a filter to smooth everything out!
Going forward, I think I’ll speak up–and maybe tag my husband in the social media content about this post! How do you manage to get in the photos with your little ones?