The hand-coloured image on the left was taken of my mother when she was a young woman before she married Dad and became Mum to me and my brothers.
I prefer this studio portrait I took of her sixteen years ago as it represents perfectly how I picture her to be. She was 65 at the time and looks so elegant and youthful; something I doubt she thought herself at the time but on reflection, possibly would now.
Many years ago I recall a woman of more advanced years coming in to the studio to be photographed. She arrived with her hair and makeup professionally done and had obviously gone to some effort to look her best. When I questioned if there was a special reason for the photos she answered in an unexpected way. She said that she wished to have a beautiful photo of herself to leave her adult children and grandchildren; a surprise they would discover after she had departed this world.
Although I think most families would rather enjoy images as they are taken as well as into the future, her intention struck a deep chord with me.
In this day of hastily recorded phone photography, images are rarely printed and only sporadically, if ever again, viewed on digital devices.
I think the most precious thing all parents can leave is a flattering, professional photograph of themselves for their children, grandchildren, friends and future generations to know who they are. An image to be enjoyed as you walk by and reflect on a person so special in your life.
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