Portrait of my mother.

Saturday 1491 – 31st Dec 2011 – New Years Eve

I did some visiting today. I hadn’t seen my mum over the festive period because, as you know, I was away in Venice at Christmas  . Mum lives 3 1/2  – 4 hrs away so I don’t go too often. She is 85 now and was born the same year as the Queen, but I’d say she’s had a somewhat harder life having been widowed in her mid 40’s, when I was 17.

She has never had brilliant eyesight but this is now fading rapidly: an enormous source of sadness as she has always loved to paint and do needlework.   She has to use a magnifying glass to read now and has all but given up painting.

She had very good hands and nails (still has) which was always surprising because she worked in kitchens for a big part of her working life. She has washed more dishes and saucepans than most of us could imagine.

Each year, up to the age of 10, my mum made my 2 children birthday cards out of cloth. They were much looked forward to and somewhere in the design she always managed to make a little suitcase/pot/ boulder/barrel or some such into which she would place chocolate money or sweets.

In homage to my mother’s talent I have photographed 4 of my favourites – 2 of my son’s and 2 of my daughters. ( It was going to be just 2 but it was very hard to choose)  

1st 2 of Katy’s – Paddington Bear for her 8th


and Eygpt for her 10th

Then 2 of Steven’s – Arctic one for his 8th

and Captain Pugwash for his 6th

Treasured possessions which my children will get eventually 🙂

Ps added later – I should mention that my children are now 31 and 27!


Spent some good time with my friend Kay today too and also with the lovely Lisa and her husband Darren…a big thank you to Darren for helping me choose a tripod… so watch out for crisper images. What Darren doesn’t know about camera equipment isn’t worth knowing and he becomes wonderfully animated when he talks about it.  😀

That’s all for now. Happy New Year from the Saturday girl…see you next week

Ps  If you haven’t already, take a look at my photography blog –  Helen’s Photomania Blog

49 comments on “Portrait of my mother.

  1. […] 2011 when she was merely 85!  The post was called Portrait of my Mother and you can read it here .  Take a look as it’s highly relevant to what I’m going to write […]

  2. shobavish says:

    Hellen, I have pinned the photo of your mother’s hands. It moved me when I first saw it and has stayed with me since. The photo is credited to you, of course, but I hear that there is no ping back so I am just passing along the link – http://pinterest.com/pin/351912440661427/

  3. Wow – what a stunning story captured in this photo. Thanks for sharing!

  4. niasunset says:

    So beautiful dear Helen, fascinated me. Thank you, and also Thank you for visiting my blog. With my love, nia

  5. […] weeks post Portrait of my Mother was mostly pretty serious.  This week it’s about the sheer joy of photography again. I have a […]

  6. clayer says:

    Love it! Hope you follow my year in photos at http://aphotoaday2012.com/

    ~ Much love to you!

  7. I love how this photo somehow still got a picture of her face while focusing on her hands.

  8. KPdesign says:

    The photo is brilliant!!!!!

  9. shobavish says:

    Beautiful post in terms of look and content!

  10. grahart says:

    loved the photo of your mum reflected in the magnifying glass.

  11. David Patterson says:

    Beautiful portrait reflected in the magnifying glass 🙂

  12. sandy says:

    Wow, I looked at these before without reading, so I thought they were book pages. What an artist!

  13. Such a beautiful, loving tribute to your mum, with a STUNNING lead photo of her hands and the magnifying glass. Wow.

  14. What an insightful post. Ah,Captain Pugwash…now that takes me back.

  15. mj monaghan says:

    those fabric cards are absolutely amazing!

  16. What a tremendous person your mother is, Hellen! And what an artist. Much more admirable than the Queen in my humble, American opinion. 🙂 And being a photographer, and just loving to see pretty things, losing my eyesight is a great fear of mine.

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful portrait of such a special person.

    All the best to a great 2012!

  17. mary says:

    JUST BEAUTIFUL somethings money cant buy

  18. What wonderful cards and memories. Happy New Year!

  19. Tessa says:

    Beautiful cards – your children are so lucky to have a Grandmother who could do that for them. Mine have never had gradparents, nor aunts and uncles so special things for them have always had to be done by me, and it’s never the same when it’s done by the mother. Nevertheless I painted them birthday T-shirts every year until they were in their early teens – including zebras, Postman Pat with a wolf in his van, 101 dalmations, the lion king and even a sinking Titanic ! I’ve still got them (well worn mind you) so hopefully they’ll apreciate them when they’re older. I once got a birthday card featuring Rupert Bear, with their photos hidden under the flap of a kite, read out on childrens’ TV. Once they were too old I missed not doing the annual T-shirts, I still take the annual photo of them standing in front of a flowering pear tree though

  20. Tilly Bud says:

    These are wonderful! You must show us the rest.

  21. winsomebella says:

    I love your portrait of your mother.

  22. totsymae1011 says:

    I love your mum’s handiwork. It gives a happy feeling. Blessings to you and her this new year.

  23. scillagrace says:

    Oh, now I remember what it reminds me of…M.C. Escher’s drawing of his father!

    • hellenjc says:

      Oh how interesting and clever of you Scilla 🙂 … I’d never seen that but have just googled it and it’s excellent. Thank you for telling me about it. As for where I was standing. I was kneeling in front of her and took it with my macro lens and then turned the photo upside down when processing. Wasn’t sure how well the reflection would show up. I wanted it to be sort of foggy as a metaphor for her loss of sight.

      • scillagrace says:

        Yes, very effective perspective. It also makes me recall my husband’s struggle with diabetic retinopathy. He had magnifying glasses all over the house plus a credit card-sized one in his wallet…with a light imbedded in it.

  24. Great photo, great grandma.

  25. drawandshoot says:

    I love the ethereal reflection of your mother in the glass. Great photograph, and what a talented woman!

  26. Your mother’s hands are so beautiful in your picture !!!
    Happy new year !!

  27. mary haren says:

    great to see those cards again Helen. I remember seeing them when your mum made then for Katie and Stephen. I still have the knitted carol singers she made for me. What a talented lady she is.

  28. Amy says:

    What a wonderfully unique birthday gift for your children!! Beautiful.

  29. puttyfoot says:

    wonderful portrait of your mom, very atmospheric x

  30. scillagrace says:

    Absolutely enthralled by your mother’s hands in black & white…and by her handiwork! A beautiful way to look at a person’s life.

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