Why moms need to be photographed.

Did you ever see that movie The Family Stone? Remember how Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, the fiance no one in the family really likes, gives everyone a framed portrait of their mother when she was pregnant? The mom looked happy, radiant, genuine. That gesture finally won SJP some credibility within her soon-to-be in-laws. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it’s worth a watch. My point is, mothers deserve to be photographed. Think about it. Do you have a photograph that shows how your mom loved you? Don’t you wish you could go back in time and see your mom rocking you to sleep as a baby, or reading you your favorite story, or making your favorite treat together, or trimming your hair, or helping you with your homework, or tucking you in bed, or giving you a bath, or just cuddling you? These are the things moms do that may not seem photo-worthy, but most definitely are. And they can be photographed in an honest, artful way.

A lot of women are self-conscious of being in pictures, and I am one of them. I try pretty hard not to be photographed unless I have properly primped. And yet, when it comes down to it, I’d rather be documented with no makeup and grown out roots than not documented at all. To make my point, I’m willing to share with you one of the most unflattering pictures I have of myself in full-on mom mode:Back in the days of round the clock feedings, I had fallen asleep after nursing and soothing my twins one afternoon.  In my exhaustion, I was blissfully unaware of my other children and fell prey to my eldest daughter’s awesome iPhonography skills. As unflattering as this picture is, I’m so grateful she took it. It immediately recalls the sacrifices our whole family made so that I could nurse and care for those babies. They need to know and remember that it was worth it. And so do I.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my family and my photography. As a young girl my mom taught me that motherhood was the most important job in the world. While I went to college and earned a Master’s degree, I had little interest in pursuing a career. I knew I really wanted to be a mom. Over the past year I’ve devoted most of the finite time I have for photography to my own family. As parents, it seems everything our kids do is important enough to be photographed, from first steps to receiving a diploma. But if my mom was right, that the most important work I will ever do is in my own home, then certainly those acts ought to be documented visually as well. And so I’ve made sure to get in some of those pictures, even though it means setting up the cumbersome tripod or sweet-talking my husband into clicking the shutter.

This is a lengthy post, and I’ve stayed up entirely too late composing it. Here is the bottom line. In thinking about the kind of photography sessions I’m willing to give up my family time for, I decided I want to create images that aren’t just beautiful. They need to matter. I want to capture you and your family, doing what is most important and authentic for you, and I’ll make sure you look good doing it. If you are a mother reading this, then share it with your husband and tell him to pretty please give you a Jen J photo session for Mother’s Day. If you are a dad reading this, then consider your wife worthy of being beautifully and honestly documented in all her maternal glory.

And now I’ll leave you with some more, ahem, intentional images…

Family image above shot by the lovely Katie Baldi

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