I read an article recently about a mum’s plea to her husband to take more photographs of her with the children and with the whole family having fun together. The author felt that it was always her getting the camera out and taking photographs of the children with their father, which meant she was never present in the photo.
It struck a chord with me and made me think that we have the exact same situation in our family. It is always me taking the pictures. You just have to look at my social media feed and aside from my profile picture, I’m non-existent. With this fresh in my mind, I went and had a bit of a rant at my husband about how I was never in the pictures and that he should make more effort to take pictures of me with the girls. As it currently stands, our photo albums could pass for those of a single-dad family.
It’s a photo, not a photoshoot
We were prepared for our next outing, at the beautiful Saltburn Beach, one of my favourite places to take photos of the girls. My husband, as instructed, got out his phone and started taking photos of us all as we had fun on the beach.
It was probably after the fourth or fifth time that I had asked him to retake the photo that he gave up and said, “The moment’s gone now Claire!”…..and sadly, it had.
The whole idea of a photograph is that it’s supposed to capture the moment – right there in that split second. It was meant to capture the hair blown across my face because it was windy, and my smile didn’t need to be perfect because I wasn’t smiling. I was pissing myself laughing at my daughter chasing the waves. But we missed the shot and the point of it all, just because I made it more of an issue than it was. It was a photo…….not a photoshoot.
The selfie generation
I think I have hated having my photograph taken most of my adult life, yet I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in the selfie generation and like all my friends, had to wait three days for Boots to process my photographs, rather than access instantly on my phone and filter/photoshop the image within an inch of its life. Maybe it’s because I recently had braces fitted and now feel self-conscious smiling for the camera?
How I look is irrelevant
I think maybe the problem lies with the pressure I feel that people will judge my photographs based on how I look? As a personal trainer, I worry people will judge my appearance because I’ve not got the year-round six pack, the ripped physique and that perfect bum – but then why would I? My fitness goals are not about how I look, and I haven’t got the time or desire to change them at this moment in time. That isn’t to say I don’t know how.
However, what my 36-year-old body has done is grow and deliver two amazing little humans; it enabled me to complete the Great North run; it worked hard when I cycled (and navigated) a team from London Bridge to the Eiffel Tower; it gave me the strength to race (and beat) the sun; and it kept going for 27 hours nonstop when I completed the National Three Peaks. My body, has enabled me to raise over £15k for charity doing physical challenges and next year it will again pull out all the stops to get me through the Snow Triathlon.
So, what my body looks like (or doesn’t look like) is totally irrelevant. It has done and will continue to do amazing things and I should be very proud. I am healthy; I am strong physically and mentally; and I shouldn’t care for one second what people think of me when I post a photo online. If they judge my appearance from a photo of me having fun with my kids at the beach, then it says a hell of a lot more about them than it does me.
My successes speak for themselves and how my body looks on a photograph (or in real life) has absolutely no bearing on anything.
So, in keeping with my January judgement detox you will be seeing a lot more of me online this year! I won’t be shying away (quite as much) from the camera and I will now be making a regular appearance in all of our family pictures!