I’m not going to lie. Taking this group self-portrait of my family for our holiday card was really f*cking hard! Wrangling my kids and my complaining husband — sometimes I wonder why I bother. It’s stressful and difficult and annoying, which is ironic because we look so happy in the photo, right? Gotta perpetuate the myth of the perfect family. For a frivolous vanity project. Or is it?
I’ve given a lot of thought to why I put so much effort into these holiday cards. Taking an annual self-portrait is something my husband and I started doing before we had kids. Now that I’m a mom, it’s become more difficult to do well, but it’s also become more important to me. I don’t get a performance review as a mom. But this group photo is proof that we’ve made it through another year in one piece. ? And any parent will tell you that the days blur into weeks and then months and then years. And somehow your kids are no longer babies and you don’t even know how it happened. So in a way, the holiday card is like a still frame in a fast-paced movie. It captures the fruits of my year’s labor as a mom, while also preserving the memory of who we are right now. Plus I’m in the photo with my kids — something that doesn’t happen as much as I’d like but that is so important.
The holiday card also reflects who I am right now as a photographer. I shot this photo in one of my favorite locations here in Brooklyn with one of my favorite lenses. The style of the photo reflects my preference for unposed photos that show some natural interaction rather than posed photos with forced smiles. The other side of the card has double exposures of my kids, which is a technique I love and that I’m shooting a lot right now.
The holiday card is at the intersection of two of my passions — my family and photography. So of course I’m totally into it. But to break it down further, I’d say it’s part performance review, part skill challenge, part preserving family memories, and part marketing. With a dash of vanity thrown in because yes, I want my family and I to look great and my photography too. When the holidays are over, I’ll have this card to keep along with the others, and when my kids are older, we’ll look at them together. There’s nothing vain about that.