At the beginning of the year, I decided to take part in the Me and Mine photo project. One photo, once a month of the whole family. I had got a new camera for Christmas and a tripod and so was excited for the shots I could take and by having a monthly picture of all of us to keep. I love seeing everyone else’s shots, all so smiley and happy looking, but it turned out not to be so easy. In fact it all just became a really stressful stick to beat myself with.
We discovered pretty quickly that Nano hated the whole process. As soon as I even got the tripod out he would start to create havoc. Each photo was preceded by lots of cajoling, pleading, getting irritated and lots of tears and shouting from him (and I’ll be honest some shouting from us too). It wasn’t that I had stupidly high standards to get that perfect shot, even getting him in front of the camera was almost impossible. Everyone in the actual frame would’ve been enough for me. Every photo that I did manage to get was tinged with sadness when I looked at it, as I remembered the difficulty and upset that it took to get there.
I thought perhaps I would just take them without him. That if he wanted to join in, he could and if he didn’t I would share photos of the rest of us, but I just couldn’t do it. Each photo to me just had a huge Nano shaped gap in it and I realised that I didn’t want to document our months with someone missing. I tried just a quick snap with my iphone, but even that wasn’t something he was up for. As is proved by the shot below, taken on top of a mountain in France, where believe me, you do not want a six year old having a huge tantrum and running away from you in a rage! You can just see the top of his head in the bottom left of the frame. He was crying.
I did manage to get one set of photos, which I completely love and one in particular where everyone was looking in the right direction and standing in the way that I asked them. I’ve printed a large copy, framed it and hung in on the wall. It seems fitting that such a rare thing should be hung for all to see. Nano and I were looking at it the other day and he mentioned that he liked the photo, but that it would be better if we were all standing in height order. I thought back to the day in question and remembered that it took us ages to get this shot and we had already gone through, at least two tantrums. The only way I could get the photo was to get everyone else set up and have him join us at the last minute standing next to Mckdad.
They say that a photo speaks a thousand words, but sometimes it can hide just as many. When you look at that simple shot, of a happy family standing against a wall, there is no way of knowing how hard it was to take.
I read a lot online about the importance of capturing those family moments, about making sure we are all pictured together and whilst that is a lovely sentiment, I don’t think I should be pushing it, if we are not all happy about it.
And so I have come to the conclusion that the Me and Mine Project is not for us. Of course, I am sad about it and look longingly at the beautiful pictures that others have to share and keep for themselves. However, I don’t want it to be a thing we all dread and hate and I must simply accept that our photographic memories will have to be more candid, more relaxed and probably not all of us together.
I found this post really hard to publish. I wonder if it’s because I’m concerned it could be read as a criticism of the project and those lovely family shots that I see everyone else post. It isn’t. I love reading everyone’s posts and seeing the happy shots. Yes, there is a little tinge of sadness and envy, but not resentment. The Me and Mine Project will still encourage me to try and get us all in the frame every now and again, but just not push it.