No Mommy, I don’t want you to take my picture, I just want you to be my mommy.
If our children were to unionize and go on strike, this might be their rally cry. The struggle is real for the children of photographers. Oklahoma-based wedding photographer, Michelle Leach made changes after registering this complaint from her daughter. On her family vacation to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, she packed one roll of medium format film instead of a digital camera. She went in with sixteen possible moments to capture versus the infinite opportunities that a digital camera affords. She committed to the quieter, slower practice of film over the (often) relentless chatter of the digital camera. In this way, she was more mommy and less photographer yet she was still very much both, as evidenced by the following images.
“What I liked about the switch from digital to film is that I carefully considered each shot. So while my daughter might be tired of me snapping, the snaps didn’t last long. I’ve taken time off from photographing her, but when those film scans came in of our trip I was elated. I definitely think there’s a balance between shooting too much, but film makes you take breaths in between each shot.” – Michelle Leach
As photographers and parents, we have to honor both parts of ourselves as much as we carefully navigate the boundaries of our subjects. Leach is doing just that.
“I think to my daughter, a camera is an interruption to her play time. But I’m hoping the transition of shooting just 1-2 shots is more noticeable than 200. She loves seeing her pictures. Maybe I was a little too demanding. Instead, just being a mom in general has taught me not to expect anything and to never be surprised, so as a photographer I need to understand the same.” ~ Michelle Leach
“Bringing my kids into the process, allowing them to tell me how they want me to capture them, and shooting in film which limits how much camera time is involved, is key.” ~ Michelle Leach
As artists, parents and humans, we must listen astutely to the nuances of the world and people around us. It’s our duty hear our own desires as clearly as we hear the desires of our loved ones. By truly listening to and actually hearing her daughter, Michelle has found a respectful compromise and a renewed vigor and thirst for photography. It’s an important lesson for all of us.