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The importance of photographs

I’m in the field of photography.  I photograph people all the time.  I truly understand the importance and timelessness of photographs.  BUT…and it’s a big one.  I hate having my picture taken.  Like most people, I am my own worst critic.  I look at an image of myself and immediately begin to pick it apart. My face is too flat, my eyes too small, my nose is crooked, it’s asymmetrical and the lump on the right side is hideous.  Of course now, I’m aging and there’s even more flaws to find. Crows feet, under eye bags. etc., etc.

Despite the fact that I hate having my picture taken, I decided it was time to stop hiding behind the camera and to have a professional family portrait session done.  I figured I would suck it up, because one day I’m going to die, and there aren’t going to be any pictures of me for my children or grandchildren to remember me by. I also decided that since I am getting older, I was never again going to be as young as I am today.   So I bit the bullet.  I emailed Marie Vanderweide-Murray of and asked to to take on the very big task of photographing me with my family.

It turned out to be a frightfully cold day and we were late for our session.  I was so disappointed that we were late, but we were and I was happy to get whatever we got.  The session was great. I decided not to have any input in what we did and Marie was fantastic.  I really wanted her to do her thing.   She made all of us feel completely at ease. It was a great experience seeing what it’s like for my clients when I photograph sessions for them.  I think ALL photographers should do this.  It’s such an interesting perspective for me to have.

Today Marie sent me a sneak peek at one of her favorite images from the session and she asked me what I thought.  My first reaction was to once again, seek out the flaws.  I tore the picture apart mentally, and showed it to my husband.  He laughed at me, and then looked at his own flaws.  Then he agreed it wasn’t a very good photo of us.  After a while I went back and looked at it some more.  I tried to step back and see the image without staring at the flaws. I tried to see why it was a favorite of Marie’s.  I had to admit it was growing on me.  I decided that this was a wonderful tool in the process of acceptance of ourselves.  I also saw that other people probably wouldn’t pick it apart the way I had and I loved the emotion she had captured.  After a bit of reluctance I posted the photo on Facebook and immediately got tons of replies.   People loved the photo as much as Marie did.   She was right. I was wrong.

It got me thinking back to why I wanted to do the session in the first place.  Because pictures are important.  They are the most vivid recollection of a day or time.  Even more vivid than our memories.   I’m really glad I went ahead and booked this family session with Marie, and I truly can’t wait to see the rest of the images.

I hope that by reading this post, those of you self haters out there will recognize yourself in my story and will take the time to have your pictures taken.  Even if you hate the process.  Even if you hate the pictures.  Do it.  One day you might just look back on the images and think, ” wow…these were terrific.  What was I thinking? ”
And even if you don’t, at least your children and grandchildren will have a chance to look into your eyes and see a much deeper part of you than you see on the surface.

Thank you Marie.

Here is the image she sent me today.


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  • Tara - October 23, 2012 - 5:36 pm

    Jen! It’s so cute! Remember when we met (just earlier this year) and I was like, “You don’t look old enough to have teenagers!” Well, I meant it. You are beautiful. Don’t let yourself tell you otherwise 😉 Can’t wait to see the rest!

  • Susan - October 23, 2012 - 6:42 pm

    This photo is so full of joy and love that it makes my heart warm. And knowing you’re one of the people in it makes it even better.

  • admin - October 23, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    Tara and Sue, you guys are so sweet. Thank you both.

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