The person who influenced me to pick up a camera is no other than my mother who is a perpetual photographer. Trying to come up with a great gift idea for her, I realized that she was always producing photos for other people and rarely for herself. So I made a scrapbook of my favourite film photos I took of her!
She’s the one behind the lens at every family event, capturing candid moments and staging impromptu shoots, and she’s also very dedicated when it comes to working with clients. She seldom takes photos of herself and, more often than not, she’s the one left out of a group shot with friends because she’s the one taking the photo.
Among many influential artists, I have her to thank for my fascination with film photography and I thought I’d pay it forward by printing out images I’ve taken of her over the years.
So I sifted through boxes of negatives to pick out my favourite film shots of her (while at work, during our trip to Bangkok, and even random everyday moments), got them printed out, and put them together in a handmade scrapbook.
On the cover, I placed one of the most telling photographs of her which contains a few of her favourite things: monogrammed shirts, jewelry I previously gifted to her, and a gardenia flower. I wanted to go for a clean and classic look so I chose a metallic board for the album covers and matte black sheets for the pages which I then mounted with the analogue photos, starting with her only baby photo in sepia circa 1962.
I originally made it for her in December, just in time for Christmas, and plan on updating it with new prints as her birthdays or Mother’s Days approach.
When she finally unwrapped the package and flipped through the silver scrapbook filled with her pictures, well, I suppose she was touched by the gesture. “I didn’t think anyone would ever do this for me,” she said and I felt a tiny pang of hurt because she didn’t think I could come up with a “thoughtful” present for her.
My sensitivity aside, I know that she truly appreciated it. The looks on her face as she flipped through it over and over days after just gave me heartwarming feelings about someone making an effort to archive her life work.
Although nothing compares to the gratitude I have for the woman who lovingly raised me on her own, through good times and bad, and I have several volumes of baby and photo albums to prove it. This scrapbook is just a little reminder of how grateful I am for all that’s she done for me and I’ll always be appreciative of that.