Why Motherhood Photography Matters
When was the last time you were in the shot of a photograph of your children? Documenting motherhood, parenthood, to us is just as important as documenting childhood. Why? Because we think that one day your children will want to look back and see you, remember the little things you did—even as simple as cutting strawberries.
There are moments between me and my mom that I wish were documented, with her in the photographs. I want to remember how she smelled, how she laughed, and more often than not, the family photos I have to remember those moments do not include her...because she was taking the picture.
So when we share family sessions, it's not about capturing your family at the prettiest moment to then become your next social media profile picture. It's to encourage you to savor every season. And in today's feature, photographer Savan Phann shares why being in the photograph matters too.
As a mom, why do you feel we need photographs of ourselves and the kids as opposed to just the kids?
Sure, it is super sweet to take and look back through photos of your kids growing up, but I think it's so important to not only for you but also for the kids to see mom in those images as well. To pass down as family heirlooms of not just baby photos, but photos where you can feel emotions, love, and connection of motherhood and child. It's also so important to be in these images to show the kids that we are all connected as a family unit! Laughing, making snacks or just being, it shows how loved the kids are that mama/parents are in the images.
As a photographer/creative what challenges do you face in self-portrait you have had to learn or overcome?
I think the number one challenge I had doing this self-portrait session with my littles was manually focusing and shutter speed for the look that I wanted. I had to make sure that all 3 of us were all focus when the images called for it. So I set up the girls where I wanted them to be and used a used life-size stuff animal to "sit" in for me as I focused. Once I focused I set the Contax 645 10 second timer ran over to my spot and throw the stuffed animal out of the frame and hoped for the best.
The 10-second timer wasn't my issue it was manually and slow shutter speed. In case if I did not mention I did use a tripod for this session. I was at F4 and an 8th of a second about half the time and while I like movement on film it tough to have a 7 and 5-year-old stay still for 10 seconds while posing the whole time not knowing exactly when the shutter will fire. For the most part, the images are focus and sharp.
What I also found challenging was I couldn't take as many candids and super fun moving images as I wanted too, because well one, I didn't have the shutter speed and two, I didn't want to get out of the focus plane that I worked so hard to get achieved right before I hopped into the frame.
You said you like to push yourself as an artist, what are some other ways you push yourself?
Yes, I love to push and challenge myself as an artist whether it's getting together with liked mined creatives to create something that hasn't been done before, experimenting with different film stock and light, or like this session here where I got in front the camera, not while another photographer is documenting my family, but being the creative force and photographer while being the subject.
I had to think outside the box, how do I focus on the spot I was supposed to be? I do I make sure we were entirely in the frame? These are things I don't think about when I'm behind the camera a directing. But I wanted to try not only just "self-portraits of me", but a full lifestyle session with my girls. It pushed my patience level here, it took about 2.5 hrs to shoot 3 rolls of film, so I stayed very calm even when the girls are getting close to their photo time limit. I wanted these images so badly, not because I don't have enough images of the girls and me, but I wanted to push myself to take them and make sure to take them well.
Yes, some may have wonky movement, some are soft, but most are them are as perfect as can be. I am so proud of this session so much, but most importantly I am thrilled that I was able to be in these photos while taking them.