Erika Ray Photography » blog

Mama Sway

I thought I was like every other photographer.  I like to find the story within the frame.  That’s how everyone shoots right?  Sure some people are portrait photographers and some are wedding, but when they shoot their lives they look for what they want to remember.  That’s how everyone shoots right?

After the breakout I saw REAL thrown out all over the place.  It was in the name of my breakout, so it seemed natural.  But someone said a comment, “Let’s throw out the word REAL because there’s no such thing as a fake photo.”  Thank you!  She was so right.  But then…  I realized she wasn’t.

Some people don’t shoot REAL.  Some people craft and clean a scene for what they think they want to remember.  This is fine.  Yesterday I karate kicked a stuffed green frog out of the way because it’s all my eye went to in the frame.  But when you scrub and over create a memory for the scene something is lacking in the photo.  The magic is thrown into the dust pan.

I’m over the word Real, Lifestyle, and Storytelling is even starting to bug me (I get bugged easily).  I didn’t think we needed to give ourselves titles.  I thought we were all just photographers catching life.  Bending it slightly to make the frame beautiful.  Moving the light to make the scene glow.  But I guess we do need titles.  I’m not a wedding photographer.  I’m not a portrait photographer.  I’m a “When I’m on the Edge of Dementia That Photo Made Me Proud to Live Life” photographer.

Everyday there are scenes unfolding that make me happy to be apart of them.  My sons working together to defeat Darth Vader in a Wii game.  My kids running through the Christmas tree lot.  90% of the time, I know what I’m capturing and I know why.  But 10% of the time, there’s a surprise chunk of life that I didn’t notice until I started processing.  Yesterday, the 10% hit me.

I was able to met up with my past two birth clients.  I asked Staci to move under the shade of a large tree.  I wanted to shoot Owen as he rested over her shoulder.  Staci kept rocking him back and forth.  I almost asked her to stop, but I fired off a few frames and got a little smile.

When I flipped through the frames, I saw that 10% flash through my screen: The Mama Sway.  Have a baby.  That baby grows up.  Hold a newborn.  Watch your hips rock back and forth on instinct.  You can’t stop it.  The Mama Sway becomes etched into your bones.  You can’t turn it off.  It’s now part of your DNA.  Motherhood changes your body in ways we can see: c-section scars or saggy breasts.  But also in ways we can’t: your tone when something is dangerous, how you read a story while juggling 4 different character voices, and the Mama sway.  It’s your comfort mechanism and it doesn’t discriminate.  That’s what I want to remember when I can barely remember my own name.  How we comforted our babies.

  • stephanie - haha. the other day I was holding beach towels waiting for my children to come in from the sprinkles and totally had the mama sway going as I cradled the towels in my arms. it just doesn’t stop. love this post, erika. you’re a storyteller whether you like it or not.May 24, 2013 – 9:45 amReplyCancel

  • amy grace - you are a truth machine.May 24, 2013 – 10:34 amReplyCancel

  • Keri - I catch myself swaying all the time. Holding my boys or not. Etched in. Love this Erika!May 24, 2013 – 10:57 amReplyCancel

  • Shelby - I’m not even a mama yet but i do the mama sway when comforting babies i’m caring for.May 24, 2013 – 12:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Jill - I start to sway even when I’m out in oublic and someone else’s kid starts crying… It’s subconscious movement!May 24, 2013 – 1:02 pmReplyCancel

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