Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Three unnecessary outfit changes meant that by the time I arrived at the photo session a scrum of mothers had already assembled, each clutching an overdressed child.

I've never been a fan of studio portraits, but this morning I was excited.For despite having taken some 350 pictures of my boy in the weeks since his birth, none of them seemed quite right.

Somehow, I had always used the wrong angle or picked the wrong moment, for instead of capturing an image of my boy, they showed me an overly-large baby with a prominent forehead and rather too many chins.

Sometimes this baby was smiling, sometimes he was yawning, sometimes he was staring blankly at the lens, but he never quite looked like John and I despite loving each and every picture that I had taken, I was perpetually disappointed.

A professional, I decided, would do a better job, and so despite the fact that his nappy had leaked onto his rather too-tight outfit and his skin had broken out in a fresh smattering of spots, I patiently entertained my baby for two long hours whilst other mothers grinned manically at their posing offspring and then sulked when they still refused to smile.

I needn't have bothered. The professional used no better angles than me and also snapped at exactly the wrong time. Her photos showed a splodgy baby, propped uncomfortably on a cushion and gurning at the camera.

"You're spoilt for choice mummy," she said. "There are so many lovely ones to choose from."

I looked at the pictures of John twisting his features into a contorted smile and nodded unenthusiastically.

The pictures didn't show the cutest baby ever to have been born, they didn't capture all my hopes for his future or my memories of his first magical weeks on earth and they didn't portray the hazy love that surrounds him like an aura and colours my perception of him now and always.

If this is objectivity I'll leave it well alone.

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