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By Adri Murdock

This is a guest post from Adri. She is the mother of two, wife of one-der-ful and enjoying life in the shadows of one big, beautiful, rugged mountain. She blogs at The View from Where I’m Standing.I took the kids to our local children’s museum on Friday. We recently bought a membership, which frees me of feeling like I have to take my camera EVERY time. So, I was sitting near the train tables, enjoying the fact that my children were busy and content and not asking for anything at the moment. Next to me was another mom. Her two sons were playing on the other train table and were obviously VERY involved. She was trying to take their picture; capture the wonder of a moment of contented play, no doubt. Yet, her mama crazies were rearing their ugly head.Crazy Camera-Cocked Mama: Alex! Smile for me! I want to take your picture(Alex completely IGNORES his mother.)CCCM: Alex! Do you see the light? Can you smile at the light? Where is the light, honey? Where is it? Can you smile for me? Smile! Alex! Smile!(Alex looks up for about 1/2 second, CCCA snaps the photos just in time to catch the top of Alex’s head as he’s started playing again.)CCCM: Argghhh! Alex, can you make a silly face? Alex! Look at me and show me your silly face? Can you do this? (making funny faces at Alex, who continues to ignore her) Alex! I want a picture of you playing with the trains! Can you look at me? Alex? Alex! Smile, Alex!SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!CCCA proceeds to take several shots, sans Alex’s smile, of the top of her kid’s head. She is obviously frustrated at what she’s taken, but relieved, I’m sure, to be getting closer to her 100-shots-of-our-fun-day-at-the-museum digital camera quota. I was sitting there literally trying to keep myself from laughing—not for the fact that she wanted to capture the moment, or for the fact that her kids weren’t cooperating, but because I’m QUITE sure I’ve been in the same predicament and acted in the same silly, annoying manner many times.Don’t get me wrong”¦.I totally understand how “mamarazzi” happens. I know how fun it is to get that perfect picture of your picture-perfect offspring, especially if you are spending the day together doing something fun and different from the norm. But I think digital magic has brought out the crazies in the mamas. Have you ever taken 100+ photos of a single afternoon’s activities? Guilty as charged. However, I do have to say life is MUCH better with my never-delays-when-I-push-the-button, Cannon Rebel (thanks Santa!). Hooray for technology”¦.and for the “delete photo” button to help us forget all those top-of-the-head or back-of-the-body shots!Keep smiling! (SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!) Because is there really such a thing as too many photos?

About Adri Murdock

and family currently live in Utah, where the mountains and extended family are both large and near by. In addition to art, Adri enjoys writing, photography, reading, organizing, gardening, making dinner, playdates at the park, reading my friends' blogs and planning parties.

16 thoughts on “Mamarazzi”

  1. Okay, I've been wanting this alleged Canon camera forever…and although I'll probably be 40 before I can afford it, tell me all the details. What's the whole name, how much did it cost, etc?

    I want it exactly for all these reasons..to take candid shots of my children.

    Great post!! I'm sure it was hilarious to watch that mom.

  2. I've so been there and it gets exhausting. And all in the name of documenting. . .

    I still take pictures but I've eased up a lot. We went to Norway on a mini-cruise last week and I think a total of 10 pictures. Do I feel bad? Nope. I sat back and actually WATCHED the kids having fun and relaxed.

    Digital cameras are so great and so terrible at the same time. On one hand, you can take as many pictures as you want without actually paying for those photos to be printed. But on the other hand, sometimes those pictures don't seem to be as precious. . .

    Absolutely loved this post.

  3. Do I ever look at all the pictures my parents took of me when I was little? Maybe once every decade, we lug the boxes out and reminisce.

    I figure a picture or two a year of my kids will suffice.

    I'd rather live my life and drink in the experiences than remove myself from the experience in order to document it.

  4. Kristen–I know Adri can share some info about the Canon Rebel (I own another Canon Digital SLR). The Rebel is a great little consumer camera with no delay. No delay! It also has the capacity for professional quality pictures but with the ease of operating an automatic camera (if that's what you want). Really really, there are no downsides to a Digital SLR. Ok, yes. There is one. Instead of buying a camera that you will hand down to your children because the technology has remained the same (like a regular SLR), you are more closely purchasing a computer that is archaic from the moment you exit the store (or a new model is released). So, once you go digital, prepare to keep upgrading much like your computer, ipod, cell phone, etc… There is definitely a price for no delay. But, it's also very fun/rewarding.

    Adri–I actually HATE this phenomenon. I pull my camera out knowing that those pictures come at a price. So, I use my camera time wisely and pull it out when I want to explore or experience something uniquely through the lens instead of as a way to document the lives of our family. I just hate the burden of feeling like I have to capture every moment.

  5. I agree with what you're all saying. Justine, you put it so well when you said: "I'd rather live my life and drink in the experiences than remove myself from the experience in order to document it." I could still kick myself for missing out on the jaw-droppingly spectacular direct experience of watching humpback whales breech in the icy waters off the Alaskan shoreline because I was so intent on getting pictures. Well, I got the pictures–mediocre, blurry pictures–and missed out on the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    On the other hand . . . two of my teenage sons just completed their Eagle projects and we are in the process of planning a joint Court of Honor for them. My husband and I have spent many happy hours this past week going through old photographs while putting together a slideshow for the Court of Honor. I was up until 2:00 am the other morning, pulling photos out of albums and scanning them into my computer–and I couldn't stop grinning. My lips actually hurt from smiling by the time I finally went to bed. And my heart was so full of happy memories and love for these rascally little boys who grew up to be such fine (though still rascally at times) young men. Those photos are so precious to me, and I'm so grateful I have them.

  6. I must be a weirdo, because I actually don't find that I miss much by taking pictures. I can't think of a time when I regret having a camera and taking pictures, to be honest. I see it as a form of service, and it's something I enjoy doing. And I am one who loves to look through pictures (my kids do, too) so the effort in my life has paid off. I also wish I had more pictures of my childhood to share with my kids. So I tend to want to err on the side of more pictures rather than fewer. To each her own, I guess? 🙂

  7. Kristen…I can't actually give you too many details about my camera, because Santa (aka. my husband) did all the research and purchasing. On the box is says, "Cannon EOS Digital Rebel XTi), with the lens EF-S 18-55. Here are my pros and cons:

    NO DELAY!!! Definitely the biggest plus!
    High resolution
    TONS of options (I'm still learning all that this thing can do)
    I can use my lens from my old 35mm Canon Rebel on this camera, too

    It is bigger than a little, throw-in-your-purse digital, so harder to have with you all the time (but after reading this post, maybe that's okay!)
    read Maralise's comments about technology and getting out-dated

    My sister recently got a Nikon D40 and it is great, too. Also, my aunt and uncle have a digital SLR made by Panasonic and have been happy with that too. Go to a good camera shop and they'll have all the answers! Good luck!

  8. I've had so many of those frustrating mamarazzi moments, but they've lessened dramatically after I watched a family taking pictures by the church office buildings in SLC. Their sweet little three-or-four-year-old daughter was leaning over the little reflecting pond, reaching out with her finger to touch her own reflection. The dad was standing in front of her and I kept thinking "snap the picture, snap the picture!" because it was a perfect CANDID moment—unposed and natural. Instead, he shouted her name and said "SMILE!" in The Voice, and the moment was shattered.

    Since then I have really altered my view of what is the perfect photo. I just want to catch my kids in the act of experiencing stuff, rather than smiling the cheesy smile that generally results from the mamarazzi style you saw.

    I've also really cut back on taking pictures all the time. (Even though I, too, have the camera without a delay!) Especially on Christmas morning—I swear I used to see the entire experience through the camera lens. I keep my camera handy and grab it whenever I have that inkling that a great photo op is on its way—but I want to, first and foremost, experience the experience.

    Great post, Maralise!

  9. Thanks Justine–I've never heard anyone else so brazenly declare she'd rather live her life and brush off the picture taking. Even though I'm seeking more of a compromise course now that my kids are older, my heart is still with you.

    I only took candids and infrequently, so we drove my extended family crazy when we came to visit, and my first two kids didn't know how to stand still and smile at the camera to be photographed.

    Best tip I ever got for photographing baby kids: sit them by a window with lots of natural indirect light, and don't use a flash. Best tip I ever got for photographing little kids, and useful this time of years. Piles of autumn leaves make excellent backdrops. Sit your kids in them and snap away.

  10. Thank you thank you for the camera specs. Ebay here I come.

    Justine, agreed. Sometimes you've just got to relax and trust that your memory of the experience will be what counts, not the picture.

  11. Thank you for all your comments…it has been fun to read them. Sometimes I reassure myself that eventually, "all things will be brought to my remembrance" which is way better than a photograph anyway! 🙂 Amy—thanks for your story. I agree that too often we ask for a 'smile' when the reality of the moment would be much better captured with the subject's eyes diverted from the lens. Thanks, Maralise, for letting me be your guest!

  12. I agree with Justine. I can't tell you how many events of my kids I've attended at which numerous parents watched the entire thing through the distorted and limited lens of a camera. I kind of think they are missing out. Pictures are valuable mementos, but within reason. I don't expect my kids will actually have more time than we do in this day and age to sit and go through 24 volumes of scrapbooks, so I hope they'll please forgive me that I lived in the moment.

  13. Two ends of the spectrum.

    1. My End. I pulled one of the boxes of yesterdecade photos to post a yesterdecade pic of my daughter. She said in response "mom, where did you get those pics of me? I feel like you pulled them out of some secret archive. I have never seen them."

    2. Daughters end. My daughter places a post on her blog of yesterminute. It goes like this "I had to put my camera over the fence to see the dogs that were barking their heads off in my neighbors yard!"

    While this yesterminute blog was funny, it shows the extreme camera use the nowadays moms can get addicted to.
    And yes, my boxes are only looked at every decade or so.
    The answer? Nothing, to each their own.


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