My children. They love me. My GOD, how they love me. They fall asleep on my curves. As babies, they stuck their fingers into my ever-deepening dimples as they nursed. They love the softness of my embrace, and the rainbow shape that the wrinkles around my eyes make. One of them asked me how I got the "snakes" on my forehead. They trace their fingers over my wrinkles, and have no idea how I fight my urge to stay home, and NOT swim, so that I can avoid the whole bathing suit fiasco every summer. All they want from me is to show up. To spend time with them. To exist with them.
When they look back at the 88 gazillion images I've captured of them, some day, I don't want them to say, "Was mom there?"
Mom was wearing a sweatshirt and no make-up and her crows feet were worse than usual. (You see the real me, when I show up to capture your families, in my jeans and dog trainer boots and my hair all kinds of wild!) Mom was worried about how she looked, not how she felt in her kids' hearts.
If you've worked with me, you know that my work is straight from the heart. That I don't capture what I don't believe in. You see it. I know you do. That's why you tell me things like, "When my canvas arrived, and I opened the package, I fell even more in love with my own son," and "Every image here has a piece of my baby that I'll always want to remember."
And this year, one of my truest realizations, is that we parents MUST exist in photos, regardless of how we feel about ourselves. I'm increasingly aware that time is all we have, and that we can never be sure of how much!
I remember a time when I wasn't even asked to step into a photograph. I believe in photography. I use photography to mark moments.
So today, after getting my hair and my eye make up done at Suzanne's Hair & Colour Room, I invited someone very special to my studio, where brilliant things manifest. The guest of honor was me! (And a camera remote.) I invited myself to step in, and step up, and to to exist in images.
And tomorrow, I will exist in images with my oldest daughter, because when she saw me, her mom, like this, her eyes lit up and she asked, "Can I be in some with you?" And from this day on, I will NOT wait to be asked to be in a photo. I will invite my own self, and I will step up and step in. I will show up!
And I have to tell you, dear ECP Families, that all the things that bother me so much about how I look, they faded away when I made the bold choice to show up and be seen and exist. (With the help of a bit of post production, of course!)
Please, right now, grab a cell phone, and a kid, or no kid, or a dog, or a partner, and take a selfie, and post it on my Facebook Page or on Instagram, and give it a hashtag: #elisecampbellphotography
Here's a before shot - mom doing carpool, with her favorite sweatshirt and earrings. LOL.
and here's what happens in my magical studio of manifestaiton. <3