Family Photojournalism | NZ


this year's journal, projects, learning, practice and generally noodling about

Environmental Self Portrait feature | Auckland Family Documentary Photographer

I joined other Documentary Photographers from around the world last week to create Environmental Self Portraits.   I am so happy to see it included with other member's Environmental Self Portraits in the Documentary Movement's gallery this week.  There is some beautifully touching work in there, why not pop over. 

We challenged our community to get in the frame. To become a visible part of their own stories. And to make more than just a head shot self portrait. We wanted them to think about their surroundings and regular parts of their days.
— The Documentary Movement

An Environmental Portrait is usually a portrait of someone which tells the viewer a bit more about them.  Maybe it's in their home or in their workplace, it might include tools of their trade or include items that are significant to them.  

I was in the room with the kids making some photos of their shenanigans when I saw my reflection.  This is right, I thought.  This is me and my current state of being. 

Just as I clicked the shutter my daughter shoved her face in there.  Over and over she sat by me and waited for my finger to tense and then she pounced.  Like 15 photos of her face and the back of her head, but none of me. 

I can't see myself I thought.  I can't see myself I can only see my kids.  

I suddenly remembered the first day I signed one of my kids into daycare.  The staff handed me a form to complete my details, the first space for me to fill in was "Name".  I wrote "Mama".   A moment later I realised that wasn't actually my name.  I'd forgotten myself behind my kids. That memory made me realise that sometimes (not always) but sometimes, for me, this is an accurate self portrait.