My family jokingly refers to me as the “mamarazzi.” I am a bit snap-happy with my camera — I have amassed just under a hundred thousand pictures of my children in 13 years of parenting. (No, this is not an exaggeration. My kids are well prepared to become celebrities someday.)
The only issue here? You would be hard pressed to find me in any of those photos.
In the past 10 years, excess baby weight and anxiety about my appearance have left me hiding behind the lens of the camera. It wasn’t until my son was looking at photos from one of his birthday parties and innocently asked if I had been at that party that I realized my camera shyness was causing missed memories. My kids were going to look back someday and not remember what their mom looked like when they were children. They were going to wonder where I was — even though I was right there the whole time.
I needed to be in the picture.
Cheesy, posed family photos weren’t what I was looking for, though. I wanted to be in the real picture. To create memories of how our lives actually are. A documentary of sorts.
After some poking around online, I found Kin and Kid Photography and sent a tentative email asking what the deal was with documentary-style photography. Karyn emailed back, and we chatted back and forth about my family. We discussed my kids, our pets, and what we enjoyed doing for fun. She then described her photography style: She would simply come hang out with our family for a few hours. We would go about our lives, and she would photograph us in our natural environment to capture the true essence of our family.
I was a bit nervous about the potential awkwardness factor involved in having a “fly on the wall” type photographer visit (I mean, what would we do with a stranger in our house taking photos for hours on end?!) but I decided to give it a try.
When Karyn visited a few days later, she put any of my unease to rest right away. She became fast friends with my kids, joking around with them and listening to their stories. After about 20 minutes, nobody even seemed to hear the shutter of her camera as she went about capturing the true essence of our family.
The images Karyn captured that day are everything I had hoped they would be. In the photos, I don’t see a mom who is uncomfortable in her frame. I don’t see forced smiles or awkward poses. I see my family as we are. Goofy and playful, close-knit. Real.
And I am right there in the middle of it all. In the picture. Right where I belong.
Karyn Novakowski owns and operates Kid and Kid Photography, which serves Boston and the surrounding areas. Get in touch with Karyn here.