black and white portraits

When there are no words- Mother and Daughter Portraits

Many of us mamas don't exist in photographs. Or maybe we do, but they aren't the portraits we want to share. We are always the ones behind the camera. Making sure that we capture the fleeting moments of our children's lives, the soccer game, the special trip to the fair, or even just that long list of firsts that happen to all children. And that is hugely important. As a mama of a 6 year old force of nature myself I don't want to miss a single thing.  I want to experience it all with my girl,  remember it with her, and for her. I want to show her the story of her life as I see it. That is my wish as an artist when I take portraits of my daughter. I feel strongly about wanting to record her life. Maybe you are the same.

Us mamas; we don't take the time for a lot of things, cause frankly we don't feel like we have the time. This week I did a 10 hour wedding, was in the studio for several long days, am doing two presentations about photography, picked up Charlie from school, got her to soccer practice AND made chili. Yes, thank you very much, I am pretty impressed with myself as well. Ok, fine I have a cold too. I am not a supermom. Whomp.

All you mamas out there are nodding as you read. Life is always always over filled. But we do need to do something for our daughters and sons. Something more than just take all those amazing portraits of them. We need to make time. Take the time. Take it!! To have your own portraits done. And if you need to use your child as a reason to do it then that's fine too. Do the portraits with your child. Please just remember that they will want to see you in photos. Because they do see perfect. And, no, I know they won't always see us as perfect. Our children will have phases where they dislike us or we fight or we aren't on the same page. But then it comes back around again. When they are grown ups - like you are as you read this, they will again see us as a friend, a rock, a mama. Whatever the words are for them. Just the same way you view your mama now. But if we don't exist in portraits they won't see us. How many of you are reading this and wishing that you had one absolutely beautiful portrait of your mother to hang in your home? And if you do have it. How much would you pay for it now? 

Every time I do a session with a mother and daughter (or any mother and child) my heart breaks a little. Because I get to see and record that connection between mother and child. It is so very beautiful. And really there are no words to describe it accurately or perfectly. That is why there are portraits. So we don't always have to have the words. I feel like when you look at this portrait you may not have needed to read this blog post. But maybe you were intrigued about why or how this portrait happened. 

That is the reason I wrote this. Because just you seeing this portrait might not have been enough to motivate you even though it tugs at your heart strings. However, if I explain a few things further you just might call me. 

I just read a letter that was sent to a fellow photographer and that I need to tell you about...maybe it will help motivate you. 

The letter was to a photographer from a mother who had wanted to come in and do a session with her adult daughter. She had always loved this photographers work and it really moved her. She found out the prices and thought they were just too much money. A few months later her daughter died in a car accident. She wanted to write to say how much regret she had when they went to find photos for the funeral and the only good ones, that weren't Facebook or phone shots, were from her 16 year old professional portrait session and they looked nothing like her. 

The mother goes on to say that her own mother also died early that year and she realized that she had very few portraits of her either. That she wishes so much that she had done the session since it would have meant so much. That she realizes now what this photographer gives to people...memories and now her one chance is gone.

This is not the first time I have heard this story. And I had a groom of a wedding I did call me six weeks after the wedding to say his mother had died and he wanted the beautiful portraits that I had taken of them during the formal portraits and dancing for the funeral. The family was so grateful to have them.

What I want to say is that I am regularly reminded that life can change so quickly for anyone. All moments are fleeting. I hear so often, "Oh well, when I lose the weight then I will have you take my portraits". Or a laundry list of other excuses as well. And I know how busy we all me!

This portrait below came as a gift from a son to his mother, her four sisters, and grandmother. It took 6 months to coordinate getting all five of the daughters and the grandmother in the same place at the same time. Grandmother now has Alzheimers as well. She is 89 years old. I spent some time taking individual portraits of each of them and then a bunch of group portraits of all the women together. This one portrait though...when the daughter leans in to say something and her mother leans back and closes her eyes. As I clicked the shutter I teared up. I knew what I had. This is why I do what I do. Stop making excuses and give yourself a work of art that brings you a smile every time you see it now and for the next few decades. 

That black and white portrait...oh man, there are no words.

                                                                                    In life and love- Jen