Mother’s Day Self portraiture … and a challenge to all the mums out there…

May 12, 2013 | Family, Personal


(sorry, not for my UK readers, but don’t switch off… you can take part too!!)


On Wednesday I pushed Abigail in her pram down to the lake and sat on a bench watching the boats. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I soon realised that I was sweltering in my thick maternity jeans. But they were the only thing that fitted other than pyjamas and old jogging bottoms (sweat pants) that were really past their days of public appearances. So I jumped on a train into Zurich and headed to H&M to stock up on some basics that actually fitted. To my horror I had to buy clothes THREE sizes bigger than my usual size. A lover of shopping, this time I hated every moment and was straight in and out.

This is the biggest I have ever been and also the hungriest – breastfeeding has definitely made me a hungry horse!! So needless to say, being photographed is the LAST thing I wanted to do. My gut instinct is that I really don’t need a constant reminder of what I look like at the moment. BUT, and here’s the big but, my daughter does.

A few months back I read an article in the Huffington Post that really stuck with me. I’ve linked to the full article below but this extract sums it up:

“I’m everywhere in (my children’s) young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.” (Allison Tate: The Mom Stays in the Picture)

When I look back at my baby album I love seeing what my mum looked like, what the fashions were (lots of 70s browns and florals!), do I look like my mum, does she look happy…

As a photographer, I am nearly ALWAYS behind the camera. All our holiday shots are of hubby, the local people or our family and friends. And I notice this is true for many mums who are always pressing the one pressing the button. (And to be honest even when I don’t need to be behind the camera, I still avoid being in front of it!)

So at this important time in my daughter’s life I needed to put ME in the pictures with her.



Of course, as a photographer I am able to get into my studio and set up the right lighting and shoot from the right angles to avoid my gut hanging over my trousers, and tuck those extra chins away! I even hired a professional make up artist to help me look a bit better than I felt!! (Thank you to the AMAZING Alexandra from Glo Cosmetics for the great job she did with my make up and also for helping me with the difficult logistics of a self portrait shoot with a tiny baby – an absolute STAR!!)

BUT you don’t need a studio or a professional photographer (hmmm…I’m doing myself out of a job here!!). I have also been taking iphone and pocket camera snaps whilst out and about and plan to make Abigail a book of what we get up to together. Sometimes just recording the moment is just as important. Here’s my latest non- technical snapshot… literally just holding my iphone out in front of us…

Clare's snapshot by the lake

I promise, no retouching!


So I urge you, get your partner/ friend /mother/neighbour to take a picture of you with your little one(s), or work out the self timer and pop the camera on a shelf or pile of books, or simply just hold your phone out in front of you and press that button.

Then, BACK UP the picture safely or even better PRINT IT… or the cherry on the cake – FRAME IT and put it up in your home, as I don’t think it will ever do our children harm to grow up surrounded by pictures that affirm our love for them.

Do it today. What better way to mark the occasion…

Happy Mother’s day.

(and let me know how you get on!)


Read Allison Tate’s full article in The Huffington Post here

Other posts you might like:

Abigail’s first month of shoots

My self portraiture maternity shoot

Recent baby shoots