I have spent most of my life loving photography in one form or another. My very first camera was given to me in 1987, one of those Fisher-Price kids' cameras, with the external bulb flashes -- man, I loved that thing. I took a photography class in high school, and several more in college where I learned how to develop my own film and expose my own prints. Finally, in 2007 (the year before my first child was born), I got my own DSLR. Then came smartphones with cameras -- and the selfie was born.
A lot of people knock selfies. Sure, they're vain. Sure, there are a million 17-year-olds out there making duck lips and batting eyelashes. Sure, they're overdone and overshared. I'm guilty of the selfie and all of the faults that go with taking them, but in thinking about my photos, and even my selfies in general, lately I've begun to give them (and myself) a break.
When our first son was born, the Husband made fun of me all the time over the amount of photos I took (and even printed) of our new baby. Every evening, I would come home from work and start snapping photos -- photos of him rolling on the floor, photos of him eating, photos of him sleeping. It was like I came home every day and wanted to capture all the changes that had happened since yesterday. It felt to me that these moments were the important ones: the first moments of what would be a long life, and I wanted to remember them all.
As our children have gotten older, the Husband no longer makes fun of me for whipping out my camera to document the mundane. Now that our first kiddo is almost 7, he sees the importance of all those photos from when our son was 3 months, 9 months, 2 years, 5 years old. The Husband doesn't take photos -- images of our life and family have always been my job. I've always held the camera, whether it was my DSLR or my iPhone; our memories have been seen through my eyes. Because of that, very rarely am I actually in the photo. Everything I was capturing was seen through my eyes, but it was like I wasn't a part of the story.
Until the selfie was born, and with it, the ability for me to easily take my own photo. And what's more, the ability to take my own photo WITH my kids. Now, I can document our lives together -- me and my kids and even my husband, together as a family.
Sometimes the selfies are silly.
Sometimes the selfies are sweet.
Sometimes the selfies are vain.
But regardless of what the selfies are, they are always me. They are small reminders for me 20 years from now that: Yes, you were there too. And look at you -- you loved your life. You loved your kids. You loved your family. You loved your career. You didn't take any of this for granted. You were present. You tried to make it all count.
So, in defense of my selfies -- well, no. I don't feel the need to defend my selfies. My selfies are a constant reminder to me (and to my loved ones) that I'm not just seeing our life together, but that I'm part of it, too.
Follow along with me on Instagram for more selfie love.
This post originally appeared on Froggy & The Mouse.