Photographing my parents
Photographing my parents. My experience, thoughts, feelings on photographing my parents for the first time.
Parents are entities that sometimes we take for granted. We know they are and will be there no matter what we say or do. We think we don’t need to capture them, cause we are always with them and there is no need to remember the present moment, apart from a special occasion. The only images I had of my parents were taken at weddings or other ceremonies, special days or some shots on my phone that they shared with me.
We know they will always be there, ready to be photographed, if we like. I don’t know yours, but my parents are now approaching their 70s and actually, I am start thinking and telling myself that they will not be here forever and we don’t live in the same country anymore so something inside me suggested me one day to take pictures of them. I could feel the importance of those images, I could see myself in the future looking at them and saying: “I am so happy I took these that day!”.
So when they were ready to come to Dubai to spend the Christmas holidays together, I just asked my mum to pack some nice clothes because I was determined to take nice portraits of them and you know what? They were both excited. They were excited and pleased at my request cause at that age maybe they don’t think to be interesting anymore!
The last time my parents had some professional photos taken was the day of their wedding, because their generation was not used to that, but I have to tell you frankly that the same occurs to me. I have never hired a professional photographer to take pictures of me and my family, if not on my wedding day. Why? Because, taking pictures of your everyday life it’s not so common, maybe you don’t feel the need, you think that actually you have plenty of images of your family on your iPhone, but it is not the same, really. In fact, I am planning to do that, I am planning to stay on the other side of the camera too and enjoying the moment without thinking of the quality of the light, the mood of the subjects, posing, cropping and so on.
So, my parents came and we had a great time together and on Christmas day, while my girl was taking a nap, I just asked them to come in front of my camera. “What we have to do?” “We have never done this before”, “Do I have to look in camera?”, “Do I have to smile?”, “Where do I have to put my hands?” and so on.
For me it was incredible, having them in front of me, posing them, make them smile but looking natural at the same time, knowing that my mother never likes her own pictures. Seeing my father, who is very shy usually, completely at ease in front of the camera and so so fierce and happy to do that.
We spent approximately 1 hour playing in a quiet corner of my garden, having the most incredible Christmas afternoon we have ever had together! We had fun, they had fun and when at the end they say: “It’s done? Really?” I knew I did a great thing for them and for me.
The magic happened when I started working on their images and editing them. I had their faces in front of me, on the screen, so big that it seemed to me that I could see through them, that I could see through their eyes and I felt and incredible connection with these two human beings. For me, it was a special experience. I’ve always run away from them, I’ve always wanted to be free from them and independent and do not have to do what they wanted me to do. I’ve always been a “perfect daughter”, I’ve said no to different things in the past to please them and at the age of 24 I was so tired of that I decided to leave home and then years later to leave my city, my country and go far enough to be myself.
Looking at them on my screen made me realise that I come from them, that I am them, I could see myself in their eyes and see them for the first time in a different way.
And this is a lasting experience, I saw them yesterday evening on Skype and I can feel the same feeling.
What an incredible experience, what an incredible gift photography is for me.
I am already planning to do the same this Summer, in Italy. My dream is to take a picture of my mum, me, my sister and my daughter: a generation shoot of the women in my family, all together.
Can you imagine the value of an image like this? My daughter wants to look at my wedding’s photos and she likes to point at all the people she knows and she can see the face of the other grandma (my husband’s mum) who died before she was born. She calls her name and point at her immediately when she sees her images.
This is magic and I really suggest you to think about it. There is nothing as important as our memories, but these kind of memories cannot stay on our phones or on our computers. We need to bring them to life, we need to give them a special place, to hang them on the wall, to put them in an album and keep it where we can easily have a look at it.
Jump in front of the camera today with your husband, with your children, with your parents, or all together. Capture the present moment, capture your family today. This is the best gift you can leave to your children and it is the best experience you can have with the whole family. These images will outlive you and me.
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