“Smile for the Camera!” You have likely heard or, perhaps said, this phrase before. Children react to the request with some of the goofiest grins and expressions that are full face muscle activations. On the other hand, adults give us a glimpse of their patient warmth or a nervous grin. Smiles are a subtle language that can expresses a huge range of meaning. And, we adore seeing them on a loved one’s face. They make us feel warm inside and it communicates so much about our relationship with that person. In particular, a parent’s smile communicates so much to their children.
As they say, a picture says a thousand words. And catching your loved one’s smile in a photo is a way to timelessly capture memories of that person. Family photo albums with generational photos of children and parents showing off their easy smiles. We can even imagine what they were like from their expressions alone. For us, photographs of the generation just gone, help us hold onto them and onto who they were.
Although it’s hard to imagine your loved one without a smile, unfortunately, it can happen. A loved one with Dementia can slowly slip away from giving a cherished smile. Because of a physical change, the muscles being unable to do it or a loss of social awareness. There is no timetable on this loss. To remember your parent’s smile, when they are at their best is an amazing way to respect them and hold on to their best moments.
I didn’t know that the loss of a smile was one of the many things the Dementia can take away. Until one day a client came in with her senior mother for a photoshoot specifically to capture her smile. Their nurse recommended that they take as many photos of smiling as possible so that they could look back on them in years to come.
It was an amazing photo session, and they shared nothing but mirthful memories. Memories of joy, fun, embarrassment and of prideful moments. They were even a few tears at times. However, throughout the session, there were so many smiles captured for eternity.
So, I wanted to share this simple thought, “Smile for the Camera!” Do it as often as you can with as many of your loved ones as possible. A parent’s smile is something you don’t want to forget. You will want that for yourself and future generations to cherish for when the time comes that a smile can no longer happen.
Capture the moment! Whether it is at a professional photography studio like Inner Spirit Photography, or with whatever camera you have handy when their smile lights up the room.