It’s mother’s day today. And tomorrow. Oh, and yesterday.
Let’s get the hard bit out of the way.
My mum passed away in 2008.
Every mother’s day that’s passed since then has been one of the harder days of the year for me. After all, why on earth would we only celebrate how brilliant our mums are for ONE day out of the full year? Mother’s day should be EVERY day. I’ve become a little bit miserly and cynical about it, but I think I voiced my opinion best sometime last year (not on Mother’s day) on Facebook;
“I’d just like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that still has their mum to hug her every now and again. Not for any reason today. But for someday… When you no longer can. Make the most of every moment you have with those that you love. Don’t sit around and wait for life to happen. Make it happen. Enjoy this fantastic opportunity that you have to go out and experience stuff. Money can always be found, so don’t prioritise it too highly. Smile more often. But first and foremost, hug your mum!”
My mum and I used to speak on the phone every day. It might only have been to check if the car had been fuelled, or whether we’d be catching up over the weekend, or who was going to win the X-factor, but it was conversation. Conversation that is now sorely missed. I struggled for a long time when she passed away, a year after being diagnosed with lung cancer, and certainly wouldn’t have been able to cope without the massive support I received in particular from family and ‘the better half’. I feel like my dad and I have formed an even closer bond than we had before by getting through it all and I’m incredibly grateful for having him as my dad. My wife, meanwhile, propped me up when I could barely get myself out of bed, and there will never be enough words to explain what that meant to me.
My mum loved being the centre of attention, she had an opinion about everything and thought she knew what was best for me at all times, even when I had moved out, got a job and a girlfriend. I didn’t always fully appreciate the emotion flowing behind those opinions. To me, as I’m sure to so many teens, it was meddling and annoying and of course she didn’t know what was best for me. But at the same time it was appreciated. I knew that I could ask her anything and she would only ever give 100% biased advice… in my favour. Advice that would stretch my goals, maximise my worldly experiences and push me to achieve my potential. She may not always have been right (though let’s face it, mothers usually ARE), but I could always count on her absolute, brutally honest devotion to what she thought was best for me. Because of her, and partly because of her far-too-early departure from this earth, I make sure to live every day to its fullest potential and never to sacrifice my heart for time-wasting.
How does all this link to my photography?
Well, my photography has improved in leaps and bounds since 2008. I have photos that I absolutely love of my mum from before then. They aren’t technically brilliant. They probably aren’t even aesthetically great. They definitely aren’t going to Wow you in the way some photos might. But they ARE my mum. No matter how many great photos I take tomorrow, few will ever get even close to the emotional attachment I have to these photos. I wish I did have a technically brilliant, compositionally amazing photo of my mum. She was beautiful. She was warm and friendly. She was the cornerstone of our family. I wish I had just one single amazing photo that captured all her qualities in a timeless way that did her justice. I’ll never know if I could have captured it but you can be sure that I do my absolute utmost to make sure everyone else has that – a timeless photo of the people they love. When we shoot weddings, or for family shoots, no matter, a good photo of mum is number 1.
We live in a truly blessed age, where camera and video-capture devices are EVERYwhere. When someone you love passes away, you will have a bountiful blessing of memories captured that you will always be able to view. And it’s important to do that. Important not to forget yesterday who made you into the person you are today.
Do yourself a favour and get a really decent photo of anyone that means something to you. I’m not saying ‘book us now!’ I’m saying just take a moment, sit down with them and take a photograph. Not a ‘Here-I-Am-World!’ social media selfie. It doesn’t need to be brilliant, it doesn’t even need to be shared,just make it good enough that you have that last photo you’ll ever need. And for goodness sake, make sure it’s more than just a digital memory and that you print it out. And then, once your done, give them a hug.