Honestly, I’m a little nervous to share these images here on my blog. I’ve posted most of them to instagram, but I also know that not everyone that follows me here also follows me there, so I don’t know exactly why, but it’s a little unnerving. It’s probably also because I know that there is a certain connotation about “selfies” and the people that participate in them, but, I have discovered more about myself through this project than I ever thought I would. My journey with self-portraiture started through a sub-group of Dear Photographer called P52 Radness and I have found the most incredible support network of women there. It is unlike any other group I have ever been a part of.
If you want to see more incredible self portraiture, click here to see Joan Rekemeier and several other blogs from women within that group. You won’t be sorry, I promise.
I made it a goal for the past two years to be intentional about getting in the frame. Both alone and with my children. I find value and creativity and a sense of calm in getting in the frame alone. It lights a fire in me. Allows me to connect with myself as a woman. It also scares me. It requires a level of vulnerability that I’m not always confident I have within me. I can’t hide in front of the camera, and while I know that I don’t have to share these images with anyone else, I have been continuously surprised at the response when I do. If through my art and my words I can help someone else feel not alone, then every second of uncomfortability I may have felt in the process or in sharing it makes it worthwhile.
I started this project two years ago because of my children. I wanted them to know that I was there, too, with them, not just behind the camera. It’s been harder to get in the frame with them now that they are all in school, and I found myself nostalgic as I went through my images from this year at the trips and outings and adventures we had when there were still two little ones at home with me.
It’s fitting then that I am launching my first online workshop “I Was There Too” through Hello Storyteller in 3 weeks, which focuses on getting in the frame with your children. It is my hearts work and I have poured everything I have into it. When your babies have grown, when your children no longer fit on your lap, you are going to want pictures of you, with them, when they did.
Our children grow so quickly, and conversely, as parent myself, I have become acutely aware of how fast my own parents are growing older. It’s the reason I asked my mom to take some pictures with me this summer. I couldn’t find a recent picture of the two of us together. I felt a bit frantic at the idea that I had let so much time go by without getting in the frame with her. Think about the people you care the most about. When was the last time you were in a picture with them? If I can inspire just a few people to cast aside any concerns, fears, doubts, about getting in the frame with the people they love the most, then I am happy to share my images with others.
This is the most honest work I create. Me. My womanhood. My own motherhood. My own children. My heart.
These are all so beautiful!! I totally need to do more with my kids, but it sure is harder when they’re both in school. I will try harder this year, love all the images you got with your kids.
Ok! What?! The black and white one of you in the car, the one at the beach of your shadow and your little guys feet, and the one of you and your reflection in the mirror are my favorite, but this entire gallery is mind-blowing!
Oh ! The one from the car ! I remember ! I remember asking you how you managed that and I remember the smile on my face when I first saw it !
Love love love how your family is such a huge part of your self portraits ! You will rock at your "I was there too" workshop !
Oh so many I absolutely LOVE! The third from the bottom…. gahhh! Lady you slay me, in every sense of the word. Can’t wait to continue on this journey with you in 2019!! 😘😘
The pictures are so amazing, Melissa. God has given you a great talent. I love how you talk about the importance of your kids knowing you were there too and the value of you being in the pictures as well. I’d like to be better at this myself!
These are absolutely perfect! Having so many images with your boys is so inspiring. I truly hope to do the same this year. I especially love how well you captured your emotions from portrait to portrait. Completely stunning work, Melissa <3
So good Melissa! I love the captures of you with your kids! I also especially love the one of you at the computer and driving in your car! 😍
Melissa, Can I firstly say how much I enjoyed reading your words and the transformative effect that doing self-portraits it has for you – and for your children. As a mother, I find it so touching and lengths you have gone to get in the frame with your three boys. I have two and one I think a little bit younger than yours, and really do struggle getting in the frame with them!! I love the variety you have captured – each one so beautiful – including ones just by yourself. You are truly inspiring and I am going to get your workshop. Xx