October 21, 2023
Sometimes, life takes us on unexpected journeys, revealing to us the importance of capturing moments and preserving memories. I’ve worn many hats in my photography career, but my brief venture into family photography left an indelible mark on me. It opened my eyes to a peculiar phenomenon that stirred both my heart and mind.
As a photographer, I watched with joy as mothers gleamed with excitement, ensuring their children were photographed every year. It was a beautiful ritual to witness – this annual documentation of growth and change. Yet, when it was time to turn the camera lens on themselves, many mothers hesitated. I couldn’t help but wonder: Why do so many women feel the need to sideline themselves in their family’s pictorial history?
For me, the realization came in my mid-thirties. Despite having a keen eye for capturing others, I hadn’t been professionally photographed until then. And when I finally decided to do so – to celebrate a major milestone of completing my undergraduate degree at Rutgers University – the preparation consumed me.
I had allocated two hours for the shoot. Yet, my prep? It lasted three whole months. I felt a pressing need to be what I perceived as “perfect.” Diets, hair treatments, impeccable skincare – every tiny detail mattered because I believed perfection was paramount.
But here’s the truth I’ve come to understand: Chasing after this elusive “perfection” can mean we miss out on documenting our authentic selves. Why, I wondered, do so many women shy away from the camera because of an extra five or ten pounds? These nuances, these imperfections, they’re part of our story. They’re as perfect as life gets.
I’ve seen it, felt it. That three-month preparation for a mere two-hour shoot was an eye-opener. The struggle was less about looking perfect and more about feeling like I was enough. It wasn’t just about capturing my face, but my journey, my essence. And this journey, these stories, they matter, especially for the generations to come.
Today, I advocate for the importance of women truly showing up in their family legacies. Whether you’re joining in your children’s portraits or taking solo shots, it’s essential. For instance, I had a portrait taken after a challenging time in my life – post-divorce. It wasn’t just for me; it was a testament to resilience, strength, and survival.
Think of it this way: If you can’t get photographed for your sake, do it for your kids. When they grow older, what will you leave them to remember you by? Those photographs become more than just pictures; they’re tangible evidence that you were here, that you lived, loved, faced challenges, and triumphed. They show that you were not just a mother, but a vibrant woman with a rich tapestry of experiences.
So, embrace the camera. Embrace your story. And most importantly, show up – for yourself, your kids, and the generations that follow. Your legacy, your story, is waiting to be told.
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Based in New Jersey, Angela Acosta specializes in personal branding photography for women business owners and professionals in the New York area. She expertly channels brand narratives through tailored images, offering insights on wardrobe and styling to ensure authenticity. With a deep commitment to capturing the essence of each client, Angela transforms branding with impactful photographs that resonate and inspire.