The need for photographs


{my Mum and Sachin, 2012}

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time reflecting. Feeling nostalgic, a bit philosophical and thinking a lot about the people I love. I've also been working on my new website, thinking about what I can offer and what I want my work to mean. Really, these two clashes of personal and proffesional couldn't have come at a better time, because together they have helped me clarify something.

The need for photographs.

This may seem like I'm pointing out the obvious, but stay with me. I know we are surrounded by thousands of images daily. But I'm not talking any old photographs. I am talking about photographs of you. Your families, friends, people you love and adore. Together, in the same shot.

My nostalgia and philosophising led me to old photographs. Photographs of me as a babe in arms, with my Mum, my sister, my childhood family unit. I look at these, I adore them. When my sister and I lived at home, we would pull out the ancient chocolate tin (it was our unique photograph storage system) and pore over ever detail. Laughing at our outfits, crazy hair, wondering why we were crying in some. My Mum would tell us the story behind every photograph, which we would ask her to repeat year after year. They are my link with a time that means more to me than anything, but that I can't always remember. There is a photo of my me and my Mum when I am about 12 months, me looking exactly like my own baby and my Mum looking just like me, grown up. I have no memory of that moment, and yet that scene, there in front of that mirror with big smiles and a blue velour onsie (me, not her), is such a part of me. I can recall it just like it's a memory in my own head. I cherish it. There aren't many of us together, I wish there were more. She was always behind the camera, capturing the shots of us for exactly this reason. Documenting our history.

I've been thinking too of the photos since Sachin was born. I'm really not a fan of having my photograph taken. I shy away from the camera normally and after Sachin was immediately born, not being comfortable in that post baby body that I wasn't quite used to, I felt especially uncomfortable. But more and more I realise what these moments will come to mean. I want him to have these almost memories too - to be able to pick up that photo of the two of us, at a time he was too small to remember, and be filled with joy by it. He won't wish I was thinner, or that I'd brushed my hair. He'll just be happy, like I am every time I look at my own childhood photos.

In my spare time, I've been setting up my new website. Inevitably, the part where I have to talk about myself, define what I do, is the hardest part. I love working in visuals, the words I always find much harder. I was trying to find the words to describe it, with all this personal recent emotion and nostalgia swimming around my head, and struggling. Slowly the thoughts formed and words flowed. The reason this is what I love, why this is what I want to do. How I believe that photographs aren't just meant for special occasions. The special occasions happen infrequently in life, the everyday is what makes up the majority of it. That in years to come that shot of you and your husband/baby/Mum/friend, when you're wearing pj's, have unwashed hair, but are infinitely happy, will mean more than anything. The business of photographing people is important to me. All photos, whether it's a blurry snap your friend took after a few too many drinks, or one that you paid someone to take, should give you an emotional reaction. It doesn't have to be a special occasion. The fact you you are there, with that person you love, is as special as it gets.

I completely understand the feeling of not being comfortable in front of the camera. I know what it feels like when you think 'When I'm x/y/z, then we'll do it'. There will always be a reason to not do it, to put it off. But I can guarantee there will come a day that you really won't care about those reasons, they'll have been forgotten. That extra baby weight you were carrying will mean nothing in comparison to the fact that there you are, with your tiny baby who is now taller than you. Or maybe it's just that you are always the one who takes the photos. Give your camera to a passer by, to a friend and demand that they take a photograph right now. Trust me, now you might not think you're looking all that great, but in 40 years time you'll think 'Damn, I was hot'. You will only be glad for those images in years to come, when the years have blurred and everything is fuzzy.

The photographs of me with the people I love, and the other people I love together, are so important to me. One day, when I am no longer here, I hope they will have become important to someone else.

(I'd love to know what photographs you cherish. A link to the image would be even better!)


  1. Great post, you inspired me to do this
    also, can't wait to see your new website, always love your photos!

    1. This made me ridiculously happy!

      and thank you x

  2. Love this. And so true, all of it.

  3. I love this post. Photographs have always meant so much to me but there are two sides to my photographic life. As you know I love artistic photography and trying to take beautiful and perfect photos of things. But I also love taking pictures of my friends and family. I won't ever leave the house without my camera. And my computer is full of zillions of pictures of my daughter. Although I don't usually like what I look like in photos I always make sure someone gets of a photo of me as well. I want to make sure I'm in these memories too. I am also quite unusual in that I actually get my pictures printed and put them in albums. When it comes to these pictures I'm really not so fussed about the quality. I don't mind if a photo is a bit blurry as long as it has managed to capture a special moment in time.
    There are so many photos that I particularly cherish. Here's one from my blog which I love.

  4. Love, love, love. This post + your talent = the incredible success you are going to make of this. And thank you for reminding me to insist more photos are taken with me in them.

  5. I have become so much better at capturing photos of the little moments that mean nothing to everyone else but so much to me--and it is these photos I try and share on my blog--the ones when we arent taking life too seriously and are laughing because they have the best memories.

    And as a child we had our photos in a biscuit tin, it's obviously a British thing.

  6. Love this post and couldn't agree more. Photos are so very important. I love looking back at photos, sometimes from only a few months ago and remembering something I'd forgotten. So excited to see your website and your business launch and reminded how very special it also it so see someone else's photos and share that moment with them.

  7. Love this post. So true. My family have a very very old marks and spencer bag that gets bought out very couple of years. Looking forward to seeing the launch of your website.

  8. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Love this.

    I love looking at old photos. My mom is constantly intending to put together albums for each of us kids, but she hasn't really gotten much past my baby album & my brother's. My sister & I were flipping through my album once, and we CRIED, we were laughing so hard at some of them. If one of us even hints at certain photos, we crack up.

    I always feel bad asking people to take pictures for me; I don't know why. But it's the reason I have so few pictures of myself with anyone. I should probably get over that, huh?

  9. Oh gosh Laura, I love this post! I love taking photos but always used to shy away from being in them myself (or would look so insecure about having my pic taken that of course it would be a horrible pic... catch 22 there!). I've definitely been trying lately to be happier about photos – maybe helped of course that I feel a bit happier about myself (strangely post-wedding not caring about how I look has made me the most comfortable with my figure that I've ever been!).

    Also lucky Sachin is going to have some really lovely pics to look back on when he's older! :)