A Preservation Project – Remembering Mum
This year it is 25 years since we lost our mum, and I have to tell you, I have felt a little lost during that time. It’s vulnerable to say, but it’s true. If you are a motherless daughter, you will understand. That feeling of connection, that knowing that there is one person in the world who pretty much fully has your back, and is now gone… that is such a stunning loss. Although I miss my mum, my parents, and that feeling of family, ever so much, it doesn’t quite define me, but it does trip me up sometimes. This year, being 25 years since her death, meant I had an opportunity to just reflect about what that all means to me.
I’ve spent some time this year undertaking a Reflection of Motherhood Preservation Project (if you like), to help me remember what I forgot about my own precious mum, Carolyn Gaye. She was by no means perfect, I don’t think that ‘perfect mother’ even exists. But she was mine, and I guess I have been searching for some sort of connection with her, and that feeling of “home” ever since. It blows my mind that I can google search her name, and nothing, not a bleep shows up!!@#$%^&*. She died in 1994, just before the internet really took off, but I am so surprised that her beautiful life doesn’t even record a tiny ‘blip” on the technological super highway… So for prosperity, to honour her, and to preserve her life a little, I jumped, or rather cannonballed, into the Pool of reflection, to start documenting a little tribute to her…
Around April (her death anniversary), I was looking to look back. One of my greatest heartaches is that I only have a handful of pictures (maybe 5), of me with my mum. Not having these images (they were lost to me whilst travelling/ or we simply never captured them) really is a wound for me as an adult! I would love to be able to look at a picture and see how she loved me, how we connected!! I would look for pictures of how she looked at me, of how I looked at her, how she touched my face, arm, head, how she would snuggle me, and as an adult, what we shared physically!?! Photographs are like anchors to the past. If you are lucky enough to have them, you can hold them, run your finger over a face, or place, and almost go back in time to that moment, that feeling, the smells and be anchored to people and places that are no more.
This little project is a photo essay of sorts. I have never done one before. I wanted to collate both some images and words that told a little bit of her big life. I wanted to somehow showcase things that she may have touched, that remain touched. The photos are not perfect, the words are short and sweet, but what I realised along the way, is that I don’t think I will quite ever finish this project. I still have a load of pictures I would like to make. Words I would like to put down on paper. I think this is a little space for me to be vulnerable in. I ask my clients to trust me to capture and share their stories, I thought maybe I needed to pull back a few layers and show some vulnerability myself.
This post is not about selling. It’s about sharing a story. But within the process of doing this project, the “Why” I want to be a family photographer became more clear. If anyone were to ask me my ‘Why’ do you want to run your own business as a photographer – it is this!! I have had some amazing jobs, working with some wonderful people, in the hope of making the world a better place, whether that be as a family counsellor, a change management consultant working to make cancer pathways more robust, or working with over a 1,000 women to support the breast and baby feeding journey… but you know what? The WHY I want to do this job, be a family photographer, is to make sure family’s have the pictures that matter at their fingertips (not just on a usb), but printed all bold and lush so you can touch, feel, experience and anchor back to what once was. Beautiful, quirky, messy, colourful, dark, funny, quiet, intimate, organic, hilarious, tender, real, story telling pictures that captures a family’s real story of life and love.
This is a bit of the story of my mums life, as seen by me.