Connect | I can never put myself back in the picture

Mum and me-3

I love photography and I hate photos of myself, but even I was surprised when I couldn’t find a single recent shot of myself and my children. Not one.

I frantically started scrolling back through months and months and then years and years of photos, thousands and thousands of photos, and found about three photos of myself and just one with me and the kids. In fact, the last time I had any meaningful shots of myself and my children taken was way back in 2011 when Tim Coulson came to visit.

I’m always the one behind the camera and I’m very pleased to be there, but the truth is I never let my photo be taken because I’m scared it will look like me. I don’t want to see myself as others see me; to see me as I really am. I’d rather keep an image in my head of what I think I look like that makes me feel better about myself. That makes me rise about all the insecurities we women are supposed to have – the nit-picking, soul-wrecking, heart-ripping, life-clawing insecurities – and just be me. A person somehow without a face or body, no vessel to label me into. Just a person, just a me going about my me things.

Yet, here I am, my mellow self-esteem in tact but seemingly without hard evidence that I was ever in my children’s lives. I could have been there, I might have been there, but we’ll never really know.

Faced with my absolute invisibility and knowing how wholeheartedly I was there, in all of these pictures, always, always I was there, I cried. I really, really cried. Because I know that while I will never be missing from my children’s memories, I am absolutely missing from their keepsakes of those memories. I cried because I can never put myself back in the pictures. Not the baby pictures, the toddler pictures, the first day at school pictures… I can never put myself back.

I have spent years capturing my children’s childhoods but I have failed to capture just about the most important part of any childhood: mum.

There’s mum and me. Mum and us. Just mum. My wonderful, wonderful mum.

The evening of the morning I cried over the missing mum – the foolish, missing me –  we were having a twilight picnic.

“Can you take some pictures of me and the kids?” I asked Bart.

“Now?” He said and there was a lot invested in that ‘now’. Because right ‘now’ I was in a stretched-out old t-shirt with wild hair and not a scrap of make-up on.

“Yep,” I said. Because right now, right this minute, I was about as ‘mum’ as you could get. I was totally, beautifully, perfectly mum. “I want to capture this moment.”

Mum and me-7Mum and meMum and me-2Mum and me-5 Mum and me-4

I vow from this day forward to always capture the really important moments of my children’s childhood.

I vow to capture me.

Mum and me-6Please tell me you are in the picture?

Then this happened:

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    • Jeanne says

      as a photographer, I do the same!! these. are very nice pictures! glad you changed your mind!!

  1. Jade@ thyme and me says

    I’m not in the picture either! I’m going to change that. I love your pics with your kids. They are so full of love.

  2. says

    Oh my gosh I LOVELOVE these photos!!
    Totally gorgeous.
    But you know you just made me cry because I’m not in any either.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. says

    Such a good reflection! I love taking photos as well- spontaneous photos of the kids by themselves doing their own thing, photos with their Dad, especially when we go on holidays. But there is always the same question ” did Mum come on the holiday with us?” It is up to me to force the camera into someone else’s hands! And now that I have an iPad, I am hoping that I will capture more selfies with the family.

  4. says

    Gorgeous images Bron and more so, a beautiful sentiment. I noticed very quickly when AJ was born that ALL the photos were of him. Now of course they should be – first born cute adorable baby. But in that moment I wante dto be in the pictures. I wanted to capture my emotion and just how much I loved him. In that moment I wanted my gradnchildren to go back one day and see their grandma holding their daddy with so much love on her face. Be in the pictures, get a camera that lets you remote shoot to get in the pictures, take selfies, it is too important not too.

  5. says

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. I’m never in the photos either not because I don’t want to be but just because I’m always the one with the camera. In fact it may be that the last photo of me with just me and the kids was most likely when my little guy was born – three years ago! Hmmm. Might have to rectify that. Thanks for the reminder.x

  6. says

    These are such beautiful photos. I love how much of a unit you are.
    I spend most of my time behind the camera too – it’s hard to change it, but I think in later years the kids will like the effort. But I do find it hard to say “Look, can you take some shots of me with the kids.”

  7. says

    What beautiful pics, Bron! It made me so emotional to read about your epiphany. It was a great reminder of just how important we are to our children. I am sometimes so focused on how important my kids are to me that I forget that. I have some photos, but not enough, and in most of them I am smiling in a very restrained and practised way that doesn’t make my face look too weird. I think I need to let go more, so I can capture the real warmth we have in our family. It’s worth so much more than a photogenic pose. Thanks for the inspiration. xxx

  8. says

    Love these pics and your words, as always! I put together a magazine each year about my Munchkin’s year, and yes, every year I realise how few photos there are with me in them. Hubby and Munchkin together are in loads, because they’re forever doing cute things together, but me… I’m usually behind the lens.

    I believe being in the picture is so important to helping shape memories. My Dad recently wrote a memoir/family history and wrote a few pages about Memories of his Dad. When I asked him where the Memories of his Mum were, he realised he didn’t have that many. “She was just always there”, was all he could come up with. Admittedly, Dad grew up in a very big family, and Grandma would have had her hands full just keeping up with domestic duties, but I was so surprised. I’m sure he had loads of good times with his Mum, even they were shared with a whole heap of other siblings, but without images and stories to jog his memories, they have sadly disappeared over time.

  9. says

    Bron this is just do beautiful and important. I’ve slowly been increasing me in front of the camera both with the kids and without so there is a record of me. Like you behind the camera is my preference but I also want a record of existing.
    I really love the pictures of you with the kids, so naturally beautiful.

  10. says

    Oh Bron. I’ve got tears! I have done the same thing. My kids have hardly any photos of me and I’ve never thought about that. Instead I’ve worried about how I’d look in the photos. What rubbish society has pushed into our minds to make us unworthy to be in photos with our children.

  11. says

    Hey Bron, Last year I started a little challenge and invited others to join me, many many started off but just one other lady finished with me.

    I call the challenge #MyFamilyandMe and all you need to do is get a picture of you and your kids once a week. Some weeks I make it the grandparents, or uncles/aunts etc as we are also lacking too many photos of my kids with the important grown ups in their lives.

    I try and share my image every Sunday on Instagram as I am still doing it this year. SOme weeks the images are of non social media happy people.

    I printed up a book of 2014 with our images, it was a best year book ever.

  12. Bek says

    God these pictures are beautiful Bron. Look at the love!! I’m glad you’re putting yourself back in the picture because I reckon those kids are getting the best childhoods ever because of you – and they’re going to want to look back and see you as many times as they can.

  13. says

    This is me. I’ve done the same thing. I hate having my photo taken because I’m naturally shy, but also because I worry about my double chin. Yet my own mother also has a double chin. I never look at pictures of her and think: “God, look at her double chin!” I just see my beautiful mother. I’m sure that’s all my boys would see too.

    Your photos are just beautiful. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. says

    The post and pics are beautiful! I have done the same thing. There are hardly any photos of me at all, with or without my kids. Partly due to the fact that I’m usually the one taking the pics and partly due to being plagued by insecurities about my looks from my ex-model mother who spend my formative years constantly reminding me that my eyes were too small and my nose was too big etc etc. But recently it occurred to me that if, God forbid, anything were ever to happen to me my kids would have less than a handful of pictures to remember my part in their childhood. Since then I’ve chucked my image insecurities out the window and we’ve been snap happy. The result is many images of a mother who looks like she loves her kids to bits and that’s pretty darned beautiful!

  15. says

    You look absolutely gorgeous. What a fun photo shoot.

    I’m so much like you in this regard, I don’t even like my reflection in the mirror these days let alone photos. I can’t remember the last time I had a photo taken with my girls. I might need to follow your lead here.

  16. says

    These days I take daily pics and make sure I’m in family pics (cue the selfie stick) but it wasn’t always like that. Years of low self esteem saw me outa the picture. When I was diagnosed with an illness that threatened my life I spent time looking back on pics and realized my kids wouldn’t have enough evidence I existed. Where was mum at the birthdays and outings? I resolved then to get over my camera phobia and get my mug in the shot…these days I’m in ALL the pics. What a great reminder for other mums out there x

  17. says

    It’s a mistake that mothers all over the world make. These photos demonstrate so clearly why mothers should be in the photos. Look at you all, nobody looks ‘perfect’, but the love that oozes out of these pictures is unmistakable. It is perfect, and therefore the pictures better capture the everyday magic of life much better than any groomed studio photo can. Thanks for sharing.

  18. says

    I nearly cried reading this! You are so beautiful! Look at you – glowing, surrounded by love and happiness. I LOVE that you didn’t have a scrap of make-up on – that you were just you, being perfectly mum. x

  19. says

    I cried reading your post. There aren’t a lot of pics of me with my kids but there are some. Like you, I am the one behind the camera. Although Miss 8 now loves taking a selfie with me these days. Mr17 doesn’t like his picture being taken at all, with mum or without mum. When I look at a photo of me that is taken by someone else all I see is the things about my physical appearance that I don’t like. My weight, my nose, my double chins, my awful teeth. I have mastered the art of the good selfie but obviously things are different when someone else is taking the photograph.

    My Nan was a very large lady. She refused to have her photo taken. Always. I can remember when I was about 10 and we were all on holiday and Mum wanted to take a picture of Nan with my brother and I. Nan was kicking up a huge stink (to the point of running away and hiding). Mum was very blunt and told Nan that when Nan happened to pass away, her grandchildren would have no photographs to remember her by and did Nan want that? We got our photo with Nan that day. She never really enjoyed having her photo taken even after than day but she allowed it on special occasions. I am glad because I now have those photos and I don’t see the things she hated about herself. I see the mu-mu dresses and I don’t think badly of her. I see her large body and don’t think badly of her. I see all those physical imperfections and all I think is “That’s my Nan”.

  20. says

    With a passion for photography and a huge dislike of having my own photo taken i have been very guilty of this too Bron. I have improved recently however when I realised when making the latest photo book that there were very few photos of me with the kids. This week on the blog I also asked parents to help highlight the connections they have with their family in photos to hopefully inspire us all to celebrate these moments. XO

  21. says

    Wow gorgeous…I try…but that voice is so strong sometimes it is easier to hide behind the camera….thanks for your words

  22. says

    tbese photos are beautiful, you are beautiful. Just like you I am missing from a lot of my kids photo memories, and this has to change. Thank you for the push in that direction xx

  23. Karen says

    Oh Bron. This is beautiful and sad and we should absolutely be in the photos. Not only was mum here, mum was everywhere.

  24. says

    Brought me to tears Bron. You are so right. We need to be present in not only memories but keepsakes. I have hardly any photos of my mum and I, hardly any! I don’t want it to be that way for my kids. I will step in front of the camera a bit more with the kids, in the moment, those beautiful, raw – ‘that’s my mum’ moments. Beautiful photo’s Bron, just beautiful. x

  25. says

    Oh this is FABULOUS! I’m never in photos either but now I’m going to do it! Thank YOU! Ps your pictures are gorgeous x

  26. says

    This is so beautiful Bron. I don’t think I have many pictures of my mum and I know my dear Nana hated to be photographed. I have so many pictures of me that I know she took. I remember posing for her. So I just have to imagine her there, with that little crouch she always did, taking the photo.
    I don’t think that photographs are ever how others see us. We are always animated in real life and are a sum of our attitudes, personality and unique spirit. That’s what I love about these photos- Bart has captured the essence of you.
    When we look at photos of ourselves our eyes are always drawn to the bits we are insecure about- for me that’s my side-bottom, a pinch of loose skin under my chin, the red dot on my nose and my squinty left eye. No one else sees these things, they just see me in all my bird-like , outspoken, fiercely passionate dagginess; I know, because I asked. And that is actually how I see myself on the inside.

  27. says

    Aww, you made me cry. I know what it’s like not wanting to be in the picture as without hard proof, I could convince myself I looked however I thought. I regret not allowing myself to be in pictures when I was pregnant with my kids. None of those belly shots for me. I remember reading an article along these same lines a few years back and vowed from then on that I would try and get in the picture with my kids. I wanted them to have those pictures more than anyone else. It’s hard as I am the family photographer too. I still have to properly shove a camera in my husband’s hand and say, please take a picture that includes me with the kids. I wish he were better at composing nice pictures but at the end of the day, I just want to be there too. :) Thanks for the heartfelt reminder and the gorgeous pics of you just being mum. xo

  28. says

    I have goosebumps Bron, I am the same, with very few photos of the kids and I. As I got a smartphone I now take lots of selfies with my kids as my hubby hates taking photos, he’s too impatient, but such an important thing to do, so our kids will look back and have photos of us with them xxxx

    • Averil says

      I’ve been doing this too! Lots of funny faced selfies of me and the kids on my Instagram account- it’s so lively to scroll back through them. Next job is to actually print a book of photos!!

  29. Averil says

    Bron- these photos are so gorgeous, the first word that comes to mind is JOY. You all look so happy.

  30. says

    I think it was probably the first or second of the six funerals I attended last year that it hit me. If I died, there’d be not one single photo of me with both my children to share in a slideshow. Not one! I was mortified and fixed the situation as fast as I could. But I’ve fallen off the wagon again. I need to stop waiting for good hair days (never happen!!) and just put myself back in the picture already!

    Thank you for the reminder xx

  31. says

    So guilty of this. And it is true guilt because it’s VANITY that keeps me out of the pictures. Like you said – in case they look like me, and I am mostly able to forget about that as I sail through life working and mothering and getting shit done. You look so happy in those photos. I’m going to do something similar when I get home xx

  32. says

    I totally get this. I have very few photos of myself with my kids, and my while photo-taking has increased over the past 10 years, photos with me in them have gone the opposite way. My youngest son left the country for a year last November, and the last thing we did just before he walked past that sign that says ‘Departures’ was take some photos. My two boys and me. Together. I cannot begin to express how precious those few photos are to me.
    Your photos are gorgeous. x

  33. says

    Gorgeous photos of you and the family. I’m the photographer too and have to force my husband to take pics with me in them. I usually feel a bit bad for making him as he hates taking photos, but then I read blog posts like yours that remind me that I’m worth being in the picture too. Thanks for the reminder.

  34. says

    Thanks so much for this post. For the most part I’m not in my children’s pictures either. To make matters worse, if I am in them nowadays I’ll make them take thousands with me until I find one I can bear to live with. That means for them, the joy in the moment has passed. Thanks so much for reminding me of what’s important xx

  35. says

    Great post and beautiful pics! My Mum died when I was in my twenties and my brothers were just 12 and 13. She didn’t like having her picture taken either and I really wish we had more pictures with her.

  36. mandy ferry says

    I went out with a guy when I was 19, crap relationship, didn’t even really like him, but that’s a whole other story. But being a believer that everyone enters your life for a reason, I believe his was to learn the message above. I used to take loads of photos, but never liked being in them. He told me that instead of having a photo of me smiling people are left with photos of me trying to hide etc etc. He pointed out to me in years to come people will reflect back on those photos and that is how they’ll remember me. If I choose to be present, accept that the people in my life love me for who I am and choose to be happy in a photo, people will remember me for the happy, fun person I was. I’ll never ever forget that and despite the fact that I still take most of the photos I don’t have an issue saying, heres the camera, can you take a picture with me in it.

  37. says

    This was such a beautiful post, Bron, and such gorgeous photos too. I don’t have children myself but I have noticed looking through my childhood photos that there aren’t an awful lot of photos with either of my parents in them! I think it’s certainly an easy thing to fall into but I will definitely try to make sure I’m in photos if I have children one day.

  38. says

    What a beautiful post. And what gorgeous, happy, loving photos. I’m so sorry, Bron, that you can’t go back and put yourself in the photos. But you’ve got a fantastic consolation prize – your blog posts capturing their lives, and your lives together. Proof that mum was there all along.
    And from now on, photos too xx

  39. says

    Oh I love these. You look so vibrant and happy. I so wish I had more photos of my mum and I. I’ll never have them. Good on you for reminding us to make these memories while we can xx

  40. Zoe Meunier says

    So glad you had that realisation which brought such a beautiful set of pictures into existence. I see I’m not the only one who shed a tear! And props to your husband for his photography skills, they really are special.

  41. says

    This is just so moving Bron. The photos are gorgeous and they really capture your joy at being a Mum and your kids joy at you being their mum. I hold photos so precious because we have so few at the start of our kids lives. We have 20 photos, mostly the same, of our Miss Yin when she was in China, and of course none of us with her prior to adoption at 13 months. We have only two photos of our Little Yang before we adopted him at 9 months. I do have some photos of me with the kids (mostly posed), but not nearly as many as I would like really and many more with the kids and hubby (because I’d take the pics). I need to get myself into the picture of beautiful spontanaity that your photos have captured. Hold on to the memories, the blog posts and from now on put yourself in the frame.

  42. says

    Oh, what beautiful and touching words. I have been following your blogs for a while, yes, as a lurker. I love it! And I love your raw honesty.
    So today, I could have written these words. I so very much feel the same way. I always am surprised when I see a picture of myself, because I see myself so differently. My real me.
    And yes, I am the photographer, not the subject….as if I don’t belong in the same picture as those gorgeous, joyful, cheeky and beautiful people I made. So incredibly sad as i look at photos of me and my mum. So yes, thank you for putting word to that sad fact.
    Well done you!

  43. says

    I think all mothers can relate and I’m currently 15-20 kgs overweight and don’t really feel like being in photos but I make myself be in them for the sake of the kids and yes, I too, am the photographer usually so we use the self-timer. The thing is if for some reason we were not here (god forbid) and the kids are left with a photo of us to cherish, all they see is a photo of their Mum (not a mother who is 15-20 kgs overweight – that’s my issue). They wouldn’t say wish Mum had lost the weight before she appeared in photos with us…….all they treasure is a photo with their Mum. Last year I participated in Jodi’s 52 Project and took a portrait of my kids once a week for 52 weeks. At the same time I decided I would take more photos with me and the kids. I didn’t commit to one photo a week of the 3 of us because that would be too much pressure all I endeavored to do was remember to take more with me in it than normal. I took 52 photos of the kids each and I ended up with 28 photos of the kids and I so that was great. Get in the photos with your kids, they love you anyway. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  44. says

    One day several years back I realised I often wasn’t so I’ve tried to be better, not hitting the mark but still a bit better

  45. says

    Oh My Gosh I love this! I LOVE the pictures of you and the kids AND I love your revelation/realisation! I had this very same lightbulb moment back in 2010, when I was worried about my health and realised that my kids had hardly any pictures of me. And that they might always wonder where I was (behind the camera of course) but that I needed to be deliberate about getting myself IN the pictures with them. I became good at taking selfies before selfies were a thing (or at least before I’d heard of such a word).
    Now I am pleased to find plenty of photographic evidence of my existence. So YAY for Mum in the Picture! Go Bron! I hope to see lots more pictures of you from now on! (P.S. your photos are STUNNING)

  46. says

    I love this post. Em shared it on Facebook and I commented there.

    My father passed away about 3 years ago and I realised I had very few pictures taken with him over the past 10-15yrs. I was always too conscious of how I looked, what I weighed, the fact I was sweaty and so forth.

    I don’t know that my self-consciousness has improved but it’s something I’m now more aware of.

    Your photos are just lovely! You all look so happy.


  47. says

    I relate to this post soooooooooooo much! You could be forgiven for thinking that my girls don’t actually have a mother, if you went on photographic evidence alone. I am never in the photo unless it’s the occasional silly selfie. It’s why we had proper family photos taken in June last year. I definitely need to make sure that Dave actually takes some photos for me, loath as I am to let him actually touch my camera! Lol!

  48. says

    Lovely photos and post.
    I am never in the picture but I actually don’t mind!! I have a few nice pics of me and my boys and for me this is enough.

  49. Zohra says

    This really touched me Bron. It made me realise how lucky I am that many of my kids pictures were taken by their aunt and so I’m IN them too. I love looking at how we’ve all grown old together. Hopefully you’ll be in the picture from now on

  50. says

    hugs & more hugs .. Soft & squishy from me to you! Apparently I give good hugs.. Because I have a “lot of me” to share. Bron, dear Bron.. I am you… In the sense of madly loving mum & now grandma & photographer…. But in my 30s & 40s I decided (wrong!) that I could only be in a photo if I was fang hidden or had lost the weight i’d stacked on over the years…then I went anti-diet:self hate via a fantastic program called Diet No More
    & I learned to like me as i am & that my choices to eat could be ones I knew to be ok.. Life & attitude changing .. But it was no mean feat to make me become more confident to be photographed & be part of my family’s & own life again.. So, my word to myself was about “you’ll never have this day again, nor this chance to capture a moment so DO IT”
    20 years on, I still mightn’t like “some” of my
    Chins but I like i am there!
    Love to you! Been there & it’s OK!!!!
    Promise you!
    Denyse xx

  51. says

    I am making my 2015 photo book right now and I am missing in most pics, but there in a few selfies. My husband is most noticeably absent!! He doesn’t like having his photo taken or value photos, and as chief photographer for our family I tend to just avoid it. For our kids sake I’ll have to make sure I snap him more often – whether he likes it or not!

  52. says

    I am in the picture. I demand it. My family is sick of me always asking for pictures … but memories are so much more defined and alive and “available” when you’ve got a photo to honour it.
    Love these photos of you and your family Bron. Love!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  53. Meridy says

    I absolutely LOVE the pictures you posted that you just took with the kids. You are totally making up for those years of you missing from the photos now—I’m happy for you that you are able to do that :) And I think that you (and your family) are beautiful! The photos bring a smile to my face!

  54. lolshelley says

    What a brilliant post Maxabella! It brought a tear to my eye. I take a lot of photos and I am in some, but not as many as I should be. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos with us. x

  55. says

    That made my teary. When I go and pick up my girls this afternoon, we’re going out into the backyard to take some pictures. Thanks for the reminder xx

  56. says

    Beautiful photos of you and your kids Bron, they show much love and fun! We do lots of selfies with my Little Man, so that means we always have a pic of one parent with him. Family photos we have fewer of though we have found it useful using the self timer on the camera – it means we get a pic of the whole family together. x

  57. says

    Just beautiful. I love those pictures. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see ourselves the way our kids do? My kids deadset think I’m a beautiful princess, even first thing in the morning when my hair is mess and my mascara is smeared around my eyes. LOL. Thanks for reminding me how important this is x

  58. Helen says

    seems to be a very common theme here. my kids are in their 20’s and no digital photography then, but I do have many printed photos. some good some shocking. Now I grab the kids each time I am with them now and have pictures taken. great littl family you have and it doesn’t matter how we look to others because it’s those that mean the most to us that appreciate the pictures, the event and the memories. happy snapping

  59. Scott says

    Now my eye is watering, primarily if not completely induced by a an allergy to something in the yard. I dig the pictures and I find myself in similar shoes. I have taken to using a timer and a tripod to capture moments. Just the other day I snapped a picture of me and the littlest one eating sandwiches on the backyard steps. I know that I set it all up and everything but it did capture the moment. The way I look in most photos isn’t a concern to me, it’s that I don’t trust people with my camera and my wife doesn’t like using it. After seeing that the only pictures that I had of the children and I together were taken months apart I started using the timer. Now that I think about it using a time-lapse remote might work better for not so posed shots. Just have to let yourself forget about it. With a short enough interval it would be good for posed shots and portraits.I wish you the best in keeping up with it. On a side note the moments that are captured where we are having fun doing something we love are usually the pictures that show our true selves regardless of what we are wearing.

  60. says

    So true and what beautiful photos of you and your gorgeous kids. I love the concept of more photos of myself and with my kids. Time slips past us so quickly, quicker every day. I am so glad that you have made this decision to record these moments. oxox

  61. says

    Oh god your post made me cry. It’s so true, so true. I’m not in very many photos of myself with our children because the photo won’t be flattering. Stupid.

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    Our children won’t care that I look like I have three chins & a face as long as a giraffes, or that my smile looks forced – even when it’s not, it’s just my smile. All they will see is the memories of that day, all the snippets they can remember, that weren’t captured on film, but were triggered by that one photo.

    Ima ‘gettin in on those photos!

  62. says

    I’ve never been afraid to be in photos. It’s not because I’m super beautiful or love seeing myself but I’ve always loved looking at photos. I’d sit at my nanas house going through pictures of my mum & aunties & then ones of me as an itty bitty person with my cousins. It’s still one of my favourite things to do so I’ve always wanted my kids to be able to flick back through photos & see me as a young girl before I was a mum & then during my years as a mum. Just before Christmas I realised I didn’t have a ” nice” photo of me & my ladybaby so while I was with my girlfriends I asked them to some shots. They were perfect!

    I’m love that you’ll be getting in front of the camera more & that this piece seems to have struck a chord with so many mums. Get in front of the camera! You won’t regret it x

  63. says

    Just beautiful. I have been thinking about this a lot, since I had the Little Mister. I spent a while trying to duck out of photos. I realised that if I wasn’t taking the family photos, no-one was. Which meant I was never in them. Also, I have extra weight on me and I don’t always like what I see. Like you, the illusion I can carry in my own head seems better than the reality sometimes. It’s a nice, deluded place to live!
    We just got back from a week of camping and while I know my mum often takes photos of everyone, I never have my own to keep. My husband doesn’t think to capture moments of me with the Little Mister very often the way I do of him. This time I made an effort to speak up and say PUT ME IN THE PHOTOS. I want evidence I was here.
    I’ve gotten a lot better at it over time. People make fun of me when I take selfies, but I’m just trying to capture moments of myself because no-one else is. I don’t care if that makes me seem narcissistic. If I feel pretty or I want to remember something but no-one else is around, I want that shit noted! I think of my son looking back one day. And it might sound morbid but if something happened to me, I want to be equally represented. I want a treasure trove of photos for my loved ones to dig through, like I’ve found comfort in when my loved ones have passed away.
    I might not feel like putting up that triple chinned picture with the pregnant looking not pregnant belly on Facebook, but I am getting better at not deleting them. One day I’ll look back on them and be glad those photos exist.

  64. says

    Oh Bron – I am the same! I love … err ADORE … photography but I hate (really HATE) photos of myself. There are not many of me with my kids either sadly. I can’t share one of me with the kids at the age they are today as I have promised them that I will not show their faces on my blog. They are adults now and I respect their privacy. I might be able to dig up one of me with them when they were little though. I will have a look tomorrow. I love all those photo’s of you with your kids. It’s shows a close relationship and lots of laughs and happiness. They make me smile! :-) xo

  65. says

    I absolutely LOVE these shots of you and your children. You look gorgeous and happy and glowing. How wonderful you have captured these precious moments. I too had a realisation a little while back that I wasn’t in many photos with my children and have been trying to get myself in from of the camera more often. Great post Bron xx

  66. albert says

    this made me sad, my friends and I just went to a beach with beautiful sceneries, out of 200 photos i only had one (group picture) i remember my friend insisted to take me a photo using my camera but i refused… we went to a part of the island where the view is breathtaking, so i asked my friend to take me a photo. and guess what? all five photos are blurry.

    it was a nice trip though

    but i learned a lesson after reading this. you are right maxabella, we cant and can never put ourselves back in the picture. wether picture with family or picture in beautiful places, so we should also include ourselves in a picture (at least one or two or more).

    thanks maxabella, i promise myself to be there in the picture :)

  67. says

    Oh Bron, now I’m crying, because that’s exactly me too! So many photos with no mama.
    Thank you for putting this out there, you’ve given me a good kick in the pants.
    And you look so gorgeous, because you’re with those babies that make you smile so much xx

  68. says

    Beautiful shots and beautifully written, as always! I used to be quite insecure and I didn’t want to look at myself or be in any photos. Now that I’ve accepted myself the way I am, I wish that I took more photos. Can’t go back in time and rectify what’s done, but I vowed to myself to never try to erase or hide who I am :) <3

  69. says

    Well said. I have done exactly the same and now my kids are nearly grown up and gone. It’s almost too late to fix. And I have practically no pictures of my mum who passed very recently. So I am now thinking that showing to my kids my own screwed up reluctance to be photographed, I am possibly passing it on! Need to fix that. Thanks.

  70. Sandra says

    Beautiful. This is so very true. I was diagnosed with leukemia 4 yrs ago when my sons were 11 months and 28 months old. I said to my husband that he had to make sure he took lots of photos of the boys and I even though I was sick as I was usually the one who took them. If I had passed away there were very few if me with them both. Luckily I am still here with them but I make sure lots of photos continue to be taken.

  71. Melissa says

    Ohhhhhhhhh so true I’m always thinking no I will spoil the picture but we need to be there, our kids love us for who we are “mum” not what we look like or we think we look like….nothing more beautiful than a family photo family is “love” it needs to be celebrated. Thank you so very much my darling for making me realise to get in this picture xxxxxxxx

  72. says

    Those images speak thousands of words. I love that they capture your happy family. I love that they capture you being mum, being natural and in love with your children. Such beautiful images to treasure. I’ve loved seeing your post pop up in my news feed today. It is a great reminder to us all. I have some photos of the kids and me, but not enough. Thanks for a beautiful post xx

  73. says

    I love this! I love your smile and how happy your kids are to be around you. Just beautiful Bron.

    I have drafted a blog post about why I pst photos of myself now, and thought back to when I was a kid – I didn’t like seeing myself in photos, and so I don’t have many of my parents and I. Those I do, I treasure. Now, mum says ‘lets take a selfie’ and we do.

  74. says

    I love these photos and do you know what, your kids are going to love these photos when they grow up because this is what their childhood was like and this is what you were like. A happy, creative and loving mum who was there. I am too often behind the camera capturing moments rather than being in them. Hubby is hopeless at picking up the camera so I don’t tend to feature very much. I was a bit shocked when I had to find a family photo for our very first prep assignment and the most recent one I could find was almost 2 years ago! Opps. Still have to rectify that.

  75. says

    Argh I’m never in the damn photos. It takes a huge conscious effort to document any existence what so ever. Ridiculous, and I realllly need to switch that up more. Beautiful photos Bron.

  76. Ana says

    thank you thank you & did i say Thank you….I can relate to this 100%%%% my commitment to photgrah photograph myself with my kids

  77. says

    Those photos of you and your lovely bunch are perfect! I’m also guilty of being behind the lens too often although I have started to make a bit more effort to in the actual picture. Fabulous post xx

  78. says

    There is so much right with this post – the beautiful sentiment, the gift of you to to your family and the photographic evidence of it, the encouragement of others to do the same, when increasingly we are the ones behind the camera. Our children should have photographic evidence of how much we love them and Bron you have led the charge. Bravo xx

  79. says

    Big hugs beautiful. I hope there are many more captured momnts from here on out. That last pic is frame worthy!!! Such love and joy always in your kids faces because they are happy and having a good time with you xx

  80. Anna says

    Such lovely words – and the pics to match! I am the opposite, there are probably hundreds of me with my little people but the reason is the same as yours. My father died when I was 5 months old and my parents did not own their own camera – common for the 60’s and 70’s. There are just 2 photos that my dad and I are in together – my most precious possessions! I always wonder if perhaps there could be one or two more photos out there somewhere.. so, this post says it perfectly for me – I will give my children what I wish I had for myself!
    Thanks for writing so beautifully..

  81. says

    Oh wow, this made me a little teary… Like you, I’m the family photographer so I’m never in the picture. And what I’ve now realised is that I’m taking precious memories away from my little boy who will never remember these first few years of his life and will only have photos to look back on.

    In a ridiculous “mum” moment recently, I started to worry what would happen if I died. My son would only have photos to look back on. But I wanted to give him more. So I’ve started a little video diary. Every now and then I leave a little video message for him about what our life is like right now. So if I die, he’ll remember what I looked like when I spoke – and he’ll hear from my own mouth what I love about him.

    I know it’s a bit insane (and it made me scared that I was tempting fate by leaving him these messages. Because Hollywood) but I want him to look back on his childhood and see me there. Loud and clear. Just as I am in real life.

    Thank you for making me more determined to leave parts of myself behind.

    P.S it’s funny because I actually put a photo of myself and my son in my post today. And it’s me in a bloody swimming costume for Christ’s sake! But I never get photos with him and I liked this one, so I bloody well put it on the internet for everyone to see. Just hope he doesn’t die with shame when his mates find it in 15 years time….

  82. says

    This is so so beautiful. Poignant (as always!) and so true for many Mums. Myself included. I’m not in the pic. I need to be in the pic. It’s that almost ridic, naff embarrassment asking someone to take my picture. Silly! Your words have given me the kick up the butt I need. x

  83. says

    This is the best post EVER! I think I have two candid photos (not family official portrait) when I’m in it with all five kids after twenty-five years of mothering! You look gorgeous, happy and radiant in those photos. I love them x

  84. says

    I remember looking for photo’s of my mum after she passed away and really wishing that she had allowed us to take more photos of her. So I vowed to make sure I am in photo’s for the sake of my gorgeous little people. They do not see our flaws, our faults and the judgement we place on ourselves. They see the protector, the provider, the carer and the person who has their back at all times. Well done for being brave and giving this incredible gift to your children. Go gently. Mel xx

  85. Ali says

    I AM in the picture heaps, we have selfies together, timer photos, and we all love doing it.. I always think I look like shit but my kids love me and the way I look so I’m in!! I’ve always loved selfies and pics with the kids… Glad more people will be doing it now!!

  86. says

    I’m so glad you now have photos of you with your children! Your courage to be in the moment, to be recorded, will be so appreciated as the years go by, and those babies grow up and away from you.

    I have very few, and definitely not any later ones with my daughter. And now that she has died (she was only 17), my only option is to photoshop my memories of our time together. No one knows what life holds… love, click, remember.

  87. Silvina says

    wow! I’m difficult to find in my family pictures too but this is a good reminder to give up my fears and enjoy having pictures with my husband and my 3 little girls… Thank you! :)

  88. says

    I came to this realisation a couple of years ago but only after I attended the funeral of a friends mother. At the funeral they played a montage of photos of her – there were so many of her and kids when they were young and it struck me that if anything were to happen to me there would only be memories. No concrete evidence that I was ever there. From that day on I’ve made an effort to be in so many. Regardless of how I look, it’s about being in the moment, the real moment – not the staged ones you commonly see on social media.

    My 6 year old summed it up for me perfectly the other day. I walked downstairs wearing bathers, looking decidedly hideously frumpy and very overweight to which she proclaimed “Mummy I love you in your swimming clothes, you look so beautiful. Come and swim with me”. She didn’t care about makeup, body image – she only saw her Mum.

  89. says

    Beautiful photo’s & a wonderful reminder! I’m always the one taking the pictures & there are plenty of the kids and plenty of my Husband with the kids, but your right, not enough of me with them. I’m always too embarrassed about the double chin or the fact that the weight I wanted off 10 years ago is still hanging around (with friends!) but I guess I forgot that who is the kids see & love everyday. They won’t care. I find the same with pictures of my Mum & Nan too. After Nan died I longed to have photos of she & I together, but they were few and far between.. But many, many happy memories thankfully xx tomorrow I’ll jump in the photo xx

  90. says

    Great idea! You look stunning in the pics!

  91. says

    Shit – you made me cry both times I read this post today. When I look at your pictures all I see is love. Pure, unconditional love for your kids and them for you. The ties that bind you together.
    I made myself front & centre in a photo for the first day of school this year with my kids. No makeup, 7am in the morning, puffy face (I am not a morning person) but I think the boys will see their mum, not some frumpy middle-aged woman who needs to brush her hair. Love the Maxabella mojo in posts like these.

  92. says

    Came to your story via The Thud……..and so love your beautiful pics…..
    I also am crying…for my lost pics….I am a few weeks shy of 69 and you made me realise how few pics I am in with my children….when they were newborns….and the odd birthday party….
    We need to stop being selfish and stop trying to make life perfect for that photo…that is not what life is all about…
    Thank you for waking me up…before it is too late…
    Most folk who lose everything is a fire…will tell you….it is the loss of the memories that hurts most.

  93. Julia says

    Thank you for being so openly honest with us, and with the camera! Thank you for posting these wonderful live photos of yourself, of you being MUM. Wonderful! And so true! Inspired me to be MUM and to capture these moments with my kids just being me. Your words are so full of love. Thank you!

  94. Malia says

    I’m sitting here reading this and crying because I realise I haven’t had enough photos with my children and time is precious and memories of our times together even more so. Your pictures with your beautiful children show more than just a mother/children relationship – they show an incredible amount of love, togetherness, fun, and joy.
    Thank you so much for this reminder.

  95. says

    I don’t appear as much as I should in the photos. Mostly because no one offers to take the shots. Thanks for making me consider the importance of getting in there and having myself included in the memories. This is a really beautiful post Bron and those photos with your kidlets are just so lovely x

  96. says

    This is something I’ve been very aware of, I try to jump in myself when I can remember to do it. These photos are beautiful Bron, you look beautiful, and you all look so happy.

  97. says

    This is so moving Bron. These photos are absolutely wonderful. As the photographer in the family there are naturally more photos of my husband with the kids but he is getting so good at turning the camera on me with the kids which is wonderful. Jx

  98. says

    I love these photos and love the expressions on all of your faces, captures the moment perfectly I think!
    As a single person who hates selfies it is hard for me to be in a lot of photos and when I am I don’t usually like them (thank god for the delete function on cameras and smart phones these days!). In an attempt to change this I put myself in every photo for the January Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day challenge, to try and take better photos of myself and try and love myself a little more…. didn’t really work :(

  99. Jen I says

    We laughed at my husband when he bought a selfie stick just before our family road trip around Tasmania. But it turned out to be the best thing he’s ever bought. For the first time ever, we are ALL in the photos.

  100. says

    I love this post Bron! It is really so important. Having lost my dad at age 10, my memories are fading now that I’m 30 and have spent twice as long without him in my life as the time he was there. I also have very few photos of him and maybe 5 or so photos of him actually with me. Its so so important to be in the photos. I so wish I had more of us together.

    Now that I have bub I take heaps of photos – possibly too many, overcompensating for all the missing photos from my childhood. I hate the way I look, but I don’t want that to stop her from having photos of me. I’m somewhat glad we live in the “selfie era” as it gives me motivation to take photos of us together more often. I do need to work on getting Trent to take more photos of the two of us together though because otherwise 99% of our photos together will be selfies!

  101. Lauren says

    I’m the opposite – I get angry when people take a photo of just my child when I am standing right there and they could have taken a pic of us both together. My immediate family and friends all know that if they take a photo while I am holding my son they have to include me in the frame :)

  102. Ines says

    I never read something and comment on it, what you wrote was very touching… Please don’t cry Maxabella because you are a beutiful mom … Greating from Azerbaijan.

  103. says

    I understand this Bron. I hate seeing myself in pictures as well, and it’s not fair to my kids. They aren’t judging me like I am. I need to make more of an effort.

  104. says

    This is beautiful Bron. The happiness and love you and your kids have for each other in these photos is overwhelming. This is such an important message, I remember when my mother in law passed away a few years ago and we spent HOURS searching through hundreds, possibly thousands of photos from my husband and his siblings childhood to come away with just FOUR photos of his Mum. Thank you x

  105. says

    I love your frizzy hair and cheeky smile and it’s clear how related you are to each of your kids. Biology is unsurprising and surprising and wonderful, isn’t it? I’m glad you changed your mind. xx

  106. Kristin says

    Your photos are beautiful & they brought a tear to my eye.
    What you have written, I could have written.
    Thank you for the reminder that it is so important for us mums to be with our family in photos. xx

  107. Cat says

    So beautiful!! Love, love, love. I’ve felt my comfort at being in the photos diminish of late, so this is the perfect reminder to not let myself disappear!

  108. Emma says

    So much truth in every word.. I am SO guilty of this, with 2 beautiful children who am I to spoil the view? are so right, I can’t put myself back in the pictures for them to look at and yo treasure in years to come. Like you, the thought made me quite tearful. Right, wheres my camera (and my makeup bag?!)… Thank you x

  109. says

    Your husband must have read your blog posts about photography, because he took great pictures of you with your kids! A great topic to discuss Bron; one that apparently so many blogger Moms can relate to. I am in SOME pictures – enough that I’m not stressed about it, but you have given me a nice reminder!

  110. Rachael says

    Wow, that’s me all over. I hate my picture being taken. But I too want the kids to look back at their lives and know I was there with them all the way. They won’t see the mum I think I look like. They will just the beautiful mum they love and remember.

  111. says

    I am never in photos and it makes me sad that I don’t even have many with my twins when they were born and yet it was such a special moment. Thank you for helping me to look within Bron. And those photos of you are just beautiful, to me they immediately said ‘family’ and I’m sure they will be treasured by your children in years to come. Again, thankyou for opening my eyes, I want to be braver this year xx

  112. says

    Oh, Bron. I’m reading this, weeping. For so many reasons, but mostly because just look at all the love in those pictures! It’s absolutely beautiful. Kellie xx

  113. Amanda says

    I am a new follower based solely on this post. Your reasons for not being in the pictures resonates with me on so many levels. These pictures are stunning…thanks for the reminder that my kids are going to want to have pictures that go along with the memories they have of me :)

  114. Charlene says

    Maxabella, can’t you see, it’s YOUR beauty shining out of your children’s faces. I can see it.

  115. Rachel Walden says

    You are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, Maxabella!!!!! The Lord did indeed do a “marvelous work” by making you, and it is obvious! You and your children are delightful!

    I especially love:

    Your beautiful smile (Its a bit enchanting! 😉 )

    Your eyes are very sparkly and pretty

    Your hair is to die for gorgeous!

    You. Are. Beautiful!

    -Insecurely me, Confidently in Him,


  116. says

    This is my fave post ever! Good for you for putting yourself back in the picture and creating one of the most enduring types of memory.

  117. says

    This post speaks truth. I made a decision when I had Phoebe to make sure I was in photos with my girls no matter what I look like. My girls will grow so fast and I don’t want to regret that I didn’t get a photo with them because of my pride in my appearance!
    Such beautiful photos Bron! You have a beautiful family! Xx

  118. Antonie says

    I am a mother of three, I’ve been a (happy, fun, laughing) mother of three for 25 years and I only have one photograph of myself with (two) of my almost grown-up children. It’s a joyous photograph, taken under the Eiffel Tower, we are laughing and hugging and crying. It is precious to me. I don’t allow myself to be photographed. I hate the person looking back at me. She is ugly and horrible. I don’t exist, I am a ghost, and I don’t think I can ever change that. It’s a sadness that will never leave.

  119. says

    This is gold. These photos should be on your wall. I can see that this is your life without a camera. But I’m so glad you asked Bart to capture it. So divine. You look absolutely beautiful and more. xxxxx

  120. says

    Don’t know how i stumbled over this blog but as a kid who lost her mom at age 21 (still way too soon) and Finding out I do not have any photos of her and me i wanted to do it different for my son. Although i hate having photos taken I did the maternity shoot, the newborn (the most precious one was a snapshot of my son and me during this shoot, I had not thought about family shots) and a professional shoot last september.
    Between those shoots i have made soooo many selfies with him and his first year album is full of memories of him and me. Working on his second year album now.
    I too am very self concious. Think i am too big, not the right Light, hair, face, nose, whatever! But i am soo glad i did not use that as an excuse to not be in those Pictures.
    Your photos are beautifull and full of Joy. Precious memories to hold on too! Hope you are still in front of the camera more then you like 😉
    Best of love from the netherlands.


  1. […] Powerful reading from Maxabella Loves. “I can never put myself back in the pictures. I’m always the one behind the camera and I’m very pleased to be there, but the truth is I never let my photo be taken because I’m scared it will look like me. I don’t want to see myself as others see me; to see me as I really am.” […]

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