A good blogging buddy of mine lost her beloved Mum earlier this year.
Since then she’s been posting some beautiful photos of her mother, which got me thinking about mine, who lives back home in New Zealand.
We’re a family of committed camera-phobes, so there are very few pics of Mum over the years. She’s that person who looks panicked as soon as anyone mentions the word ‘photo’ and always manages to hide herself at the back, or slip away altogether under some swiftly invented excuse.
Which is why I have these ones of her holding me as a newborn, and as a toddler (I’m guessing about two?), and the next ones I have have were taken nearly 25 years later at my sister’s wedding, and a shot of us in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales (note how she looks like she’s plotting her getaway in the bottom one).
Another decade or so passed with very little photo action – in great part because I’d moved to London by this stage, and only managed to get home once in this time. When Big Sis was born Mum came over to help out, and I managed to nab a few of her then (she’ll kill me if she sees I’ve posted this… but I’m going to do it anyway… ).
When Lil Sis was two she came back again, and was able to meet her youngest granddaughter for the first time. I love these photos, taken a few days after Big Sis started school, but they also make me sad as it was the same day Mum flew back to New Zealand. The girls are too young to realise it’s a goodbye hug, but Mum and I are all too aware this is the last time they’ll see Nana for (what turned out to be) three years.
In summer this year our scattered family was brought together again for my cousin’s wedding in Bali. My friend’s recent loss had really brought it home to me how important it was to keep making memories – I realised I’d been ignoring my own advice, taking squillions of photos of the girls with OH, but very few of myself with them.
My girls are still young enough that, if something happened to me (touch wood), they wouldn’t have many memories of me, which is a distressing thought. That’s why – to me – photos aren’t just a way for me to remember a fun day or occasion, they’re preserving memories for the loved ones I’ll eventually leave behind. Photos don’t just mark and give context to your family’s life, they also enable future generations to understand who they are, by seeing who, and where, they’ve come from.
Before we flew out I did some research and found a local photographer named Pande to take some family photos while we were in relaxed holiday mode. A former graphic designer, he set up APEL PHOTOGRAPHY in 2008, and I loved his informal photo journalistic style.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous about the shoot – getting a family of jetlagged camera-phobes excited about a shoot isn’t the easiest task in the world, but to their credit everyone turned up – even if slightly begrudgingly. We managed to get this pic of the girls with Mum and my stepdad, as well as some lovely shots of my Dad and sister. I also finally got some nice photos of me with the girls (which I’ll show you in a separate post).
I’ve made a pact now to make sure I get some decent shots taken every year; it’s time to get over my camera shyness, and on to the other side of the lens.
Do you have a favourite family photo? Leave a link in the comments, so I can check it out!