Many women have grown up disliking the way they look in photos. Besides being very self-critical, the discomfort in front of the camera makes us hate being captured and frozen in time by the camera.
My mother was asked about her photography experiences, and she told this story. “When my siblings and I were children, our parents sometimes brought us to the photographer because they wanted to have our growth documented professionally. We valued these photos,” my mother declared emphatically.
She went on with, “I have to say I liked everything about family photo sessions as a younger child. Then there was a long period of my life when I hated having my photos taken, even if it was with my family in beautiful places. There are some photos of me together with my family, but if I had had a choice I would have been happier to have only the rest of them in the photo without me.
How to avoid the camera…soon it started to drive my life. I became a grandma, and I already had two grandkids past their younger childhood, when I realised that if I went on avoiding having my photos taken, then I would never exist in photographs for them.
My daughter once asked, did I focus on whether my ancestors in the framed photos on the wall had the perfect shape or perfect skin and clothes? Did I ask how dare they be photographed the way they looked? Or did I enjoy the warm feeling of the époque, emotions, love and experiences once we had shared? Of course it was the latter.
That was an eye opener for me. I began to want to exist in photographs for my family for future generations. I decided I would like them to remember me the way I was at different eras of my life, so I let go of the resistance. I will be 70 this year and I like my photographs taken more than ever, because I have completely shifted to an understanding of the meaning of the treasure they offer not only for me, but for my whole family.”
Regardless of your age do you think it’s perhaps time to re-evaluate your past photography experiences? The earlier you reconsider how important your photos will be for your family in future years, the more time you have to create a precious family photographic legacy.
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