This is a first from me – a blog post without pictures. But there’s a reason; read on.
I’ve had a break from blogging; March and April saw me travelling extensively, with trips to Brittany, the Lofoten Islands, Venice and Norfolk. Time at my desk between trips was for catching up with all the admin I hadn’t done while away. But, this morning, I decided it was time to resume my much-neglected 365 redux project. So I booted up my Mac and hunted for a shot from 15th May. To my surprise, I found that in the last five years (as far back as my current Lightroom catalogue goes) I hadn’t taken a single photo on 15th May. I wondered why that might be. May is such a pretty month – surely a landscape and bug shooter would have found reason to go out shooting on the 15th at least once?
15th May was my mother’s birthday. Perhaps I was busy with family on that day, but surely I ought to have taken some family snaps then? Well no, and that brings me to the point of this post. My mother hated having her photo taken. The pictures I have of her are from her youth, pictures of a mother I never knew. Beautiful and young, but not my mum. I have very few pictures from the later decades of her life, when she was the person I knew and loved. And this made me think. I too hate being photographed; perhaps it’s a photographer’s curse? I know I much prefer being behind the lens. But there is more to it; I must confess to the vanity of not wanting my ageing face to be recorded for posterity. Canute-like, I want to command the years to retreat even if the only thing I can actually control is the production of images of myself.
This is the first 15th May since my mother passed away. And I wish I had more pictures of her. I would like to share them with my own daughter and to remember the grandmother she loved. She looks at the old pictures of her youthful grandmother with admiration, but not with recognition. I can’t do anything about that – it’s too late. But I can make sure that when I am gone my daughter has pictures of the mother she knew. I will just have to put vanity aside and let the shutter click.