“You just have to make a conscious effort to keep snapping away I think”: A Case Study of Family Photos, Mothering, and Familial Space

  • Gillian Rose


This chapter is based on the interviews I carried out with 14 women in two towns in south-east England, Bedford, and Cambridge.1 All these women were mothers. They were also all white, middle-class, and married; none worked full-time for wages; their children were all able-bodied and most were pre-school. We talked at length, in their homes, about their family photos. There was plenty of evidence both from our conversations and from their houses that family snaps were important to them. Photographs of their family, taken usually by family members and almost always of family members, but most especially of their children, were everywhere in their houses, even the toilets; they were “dotted about,” “all round,” and “anywhere.” The mums told me, laughing, of the huge numbers of photos they’d taken of their children when they were newborn: “tons and tons,” “every time Cameron moved he got to have a photograph,” “we’ve got pictures of Jenny breathing, sort of, smiling, breathing, eating,” “you know, everything he did—and they don’t do anything!—I went, ‘Take a photograph, take a photograph,’ so we’ve got, like, loads.” As their babies grew, all these mums agreed with Tina when she said, “you just have to make a conscious effort to keep snapping away, I think.” And despite the huge numbers of photos generated by this desire to photograph “everything,” only one of these women had ever thrown away any photographs of their own children.2


Conscious Effort Wide Family Domestic Spacing Absolute Knowledge Family Photo 
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© Sarah Hardy and Caroline Wiedmer 2005

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  • Gillian Rose

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