Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Self Portrait

I got an email from another Single Mama commenting on the self-portrait photos I take of myself and the Wee One. I had never given it much thought until her kind praise of all the photos I have of us together. As a single mother, it is probably more difficult to make sure that you have photos of yourself and your little one together, especially if many outings are just the two of you.

I say probably, because I started out as a single mother. I've never been a part of a couple during my Mothering phase, and so, like many things, that is an assumption that I have made about Life as part of a Couple of Parents versus Life as a Single Mother. Like most assumptions ....

I started out taking self-portraits with my best friend in high school. It was a fun thing that we did that ended up turning into a tradition. She was the maid of honor at my wedding (yes, I was married once, so I know what THAT is like) and late in the evening she reminded me we still needed to take our self-portrait. It is one of the most fun photos from that night.

 (I should scan it and show you what I looked like 12 years before the Wee One came along.)

Now that I have my wee one, I take self-photos pf us constantly. I want her to have photos of her and her mommy together to look at when she grows up.

I highly recommend having professional portraits taken of you and your little one. I treasure some of the family photos we have had taken by our photographer. I also recommend stopping passers-by and asking them to take photos of you and your crew. You're relying on someone else's photography skills with a strange camera, but at least you can get everyone in. But there is nothing like a self-taken photo of the two of you.

Self-photos have a close perspective. They have to - your arms are only so long. The image frames only you and your little one and creates an intimate image (or something like that).

Self-photos reflect fun and humor - to balance a wee one and your camera takes some doing. It also makes it easy for you to forget to smile. Do something funny to make your little one laugh, and you will be smiling for the photo too.

Self-photos aren't formal - on purpose.  The next time you're on a walk around the block with your little one, pull out your cell phone and snap a self-pic.  It's a great way to capture just daily little moments (like me in a nursing bra).

Self-photos take practice. In the digital camera age, its easy to take several and keep the best one. The more you do them, the more you learn if its easier to do with your right or left hand (I obviously prefer my right, since most of these photos have her on my left), you learn to remember to keep the front of the camera flat and facing you so you're not just photographing the tops of your heads, you learn how to hold the camera without covering the flash, etc.

Self-photos help you record. Sometimes when you are asking a stranger to stop and take a photo of you, you are recording a big moment. Life, though, is little moments. Stick out your camera and try to capture one.

I didn't realize how many self-photos I have of me and the Wee One.  Thanks, Lara, for the email.  It motivated me to pull all these together.  I am so glad that I've done this, even without thinking about it.  Some are better than others.  I hope she treasures them all when she is older.

(Like I said, some are better than others!)

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!  To all who are thinking, trying, becoming, or are, I wish you a beautiful, love-filled day.


hopeful said...

These pictures are so cute! You make really great points- including capturing the little moments. Great advice that I will use in (hopefully) the near future.

I recently found your blog and am so glad I did as I'm about to start trying to become a choice mom. Knowing there are so many, many successful choice moms out there, gives me greater confidence that I CAN do it.

Happy Mother's Day!

Funky Mama Bird said...

Those are some great shots! I don't have nearly enough photos of me with Gunnar, but I never thought about shooting them myself! I'm going to give this a try!

Happy Mother's Day

Billy said...

I love your self portraits :-).
Happy Mother's Day!

Laraf123 said...

I'm often too shy to ask strangers to take our photo in public; I think I'll make it a goal this summer. Meanwhile, I'm going to take at least one self-portrait with each of the boys. How do you get your wee one to hold still?