Today's post is short and not entirely original, but I feel like I’m hearing voices of low self esteem more than usual, so I thought we could all (myself included) use a reminder. About six months ago our little boy almost died in a freak emergency. I wrote about some of my realizations here. Along with a renewed understanding of my personal priorities and a desire to preserve those moments that were important to me as a mother, even if not artistically interesting, I also flipped the situation around in my head and thought about what my children would want if something were to happen to me.
They would want pictures of me, however I looked, whether or not I was at my thinnest or not so thinnest. They would just want me. My message is not unique, but I want to add my voice to the chorus of women encouraging us all to stop feeling bad about the way we look, stop saying “I’m just always the one behind the lens”, and be in the frame.
I just had a talk with a fellow photographer and dear friend. She had just photographed a beautiful session and the mother didn’t want any of her photos used publicly that showed her face because she was unhappy with her weight and the way she looks. I broke down in tears. I have been there and felt those things. I still feel that way lots of times, but I have decided to move past it and let who I am and what I look like be enough. Do you know why it’s enough? Because I’m awesome. We all are. Each of us has unique abilities, thoughts, concerns…each of us is authentic, original and wonderful. Can’t we just own our amazingness and love photos of us even if we have a double chin, or a pimple, or a baby belly two years after having a baby? I think we can. Photos of us are about so much more than whether or not all our imperfections are artfully reduced.
This Friday we’re getting our family portraits taken by my idol. I started going through my list of ways I don’t like the way I look. “I smile too big and my eyes get tiny” and “From the side I think it looks like I have a double chin”…but then I stopped. These photos aren’t about me. They are about my family; our unit, our connection and our love. They will be beautiful because we are beautiful (and our photographer is incredible).
So ladies, whether you’re a mom or not, we look how we look. Of course we can do things to get healthier or whatever, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What this is about is the now. Wherever you are in your life, don’t be ashamed of the way you look. Keep a record of your life. It’s the one we have. Don’t waste it worrying about double chins in pictures and if the unspeakable happens, don’t deprive your family of a visual record of your life and your love.
Amanda Voelker is a fine art and documentary photographer, focusing on capturing the fleeting moments of childhood. She is currently located in the Seattle, Washington area. With her children and light as her inspiration, Amanda finds beauty in the everyday and is constantly amazed by all the wonder in her life. She strives to capture the subtleties of human emotion and connection in a beautiful way that showcases both the moment and a piece of herself. Amanda is also the co-Editor in Chief of"The Long Way Home" magazine and co-founder of 30 Minutes in the Life. Aside from photography and family, Amanda is passionate about the ocean, seeing the world, diet coke, reading, and chocolate. You can find more of her work on her website and facebook