12th July 2021

Why Family Photography Matters

In The Beginning

The journey to parenthood isn’t always an easy one. For lots of folks, it’s as easy as ‘let’s start a family’ and they do and then they have arrived at destination parenthood. But families are complex, to say the least. You might be a biological parent, an adoptive parent, a stepparent. You may have special guardianship; you may even be a Nana or Grandad stepping up to the plate. There are just so many complexities to it all, but the more I understand and learn, the more I am humbled by all the good stuff people do out there in real life.

Being a parent is the most important, tough, challenging and rewarding thing any of us may ever do with our lives. When my husband and I welcomed our daughter into our lives; we hit the ground running. My older sisters and my dear Mumma kept telling me “Charlotte, you can only do your best” and I’ll be honest I was worried that my best wasn’t good enough but now, with some time and understanding on my side I get it; all any of us are ever doing is our best; it’s all we can do and it’s good enough.

The busy hustle of family Life

We are all so busy. We work. We hustle. We do our best to protect our precious family time. We are all so busy all of the time that we barely get the chance to sit down for a cuppa let alone plan a family photography session.

I want to make a case for the importance of family photography, which is heart-felt. Earlier this year, my husband went away for the weekend so I took the opportunity to invite my Mum, three sisters and two of my nieces over. My Mum is the current holder of the family photograph boxes and she bought them with her. We spent the entire evening sitting around, eating pizza, drinking wine and looking at our family legacy in hundreds of our photographs. There were lots of pictures I had seen a hundred times but just as many that I’d not. My nieces were enthralled; looking at the photo’s hearing the stories about the many characters in our family and so many of them they’d never met. It was a life-affirming, momentous evening. I will never forget that night for as long as I live.

Over the years our family’s stories of joy, achievement, struggle and even loss are passed down from generation to generation. Bruce Feller from the New York Times researched and wrote a fascinating article about the importance of having a strong family narrative. He wanted to know what was the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some family’s effective, resilient, happy? His research concluded that the single most important thing you can do for your family might be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative and what better way to do that than with photographs. New York Times

The future is out there somewhere and it’s a long way off

When we are in our twenties we think we have forever and tomorrow will never come. I have time. We have time. There’s no rush. I have to do ‘A’ before I can even consider ‘B’.

When we hit our thirties time starts speeding up to; like me when you hit your forties time speeds up that little bit more!

Our children change so quickly: I see it in my two girls. As cheekbones emerge from little pudgy faces, sometimes you can almost see it happening before your very eyes. Sometimes I look at my fifteen-year-old Step-Daughter and I gasp internally; how did she get so tall and loud! She’s forming her own opinions and starting to think about her life away from our home. As I write this, she is in her final year at senior school. In a couple of years she will be going to University and our little fledgling will be off and flying free in the big wide world. Gulp.

My point is, all of these ‘moments’ are fleeting. Family photography is important to me and I have my next session planned with a photographer whose work I love. Personally, fads and fashions like babies in baskets aren’t my thing. It may be yours which is fine but for me;I like to be reminded of the constant nose-picking, the love affair with the hideous holey blanket that I’m absolutely not allowed to wash. The insistence of choosing your own outfits even though it couldn’t really be described as an outfit by any rational person, it’s those things that say ‘This was us’ as we look back.

So can I suggest you make that cuppa, pull up a seat and make that call to schedule a family photography session? It will be worth it.

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